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C 2 

Wartime Correspondence 








With an Introduction <&* Explanatory Notes 


Personal Representative of the President 

of the United States of America 

to His Holiness Pope Pius XII 




rights reserved no part of this look may "be reproduced in any form 
without permission in writingfrom the publisher -, except by a reviewer who 
wishes to quote "brief passages in connection with a review written for 
inclusion in magazine or newspaper. 


Designed by Oscar 

By Courtesy of Frank 0. Salisbury 

The Honorable Franklin D. Roosevelt 

By Courtesy ofFabbrica 

His Holiness Pope Pius XII 



Preface by The Honorable Harry S. Truman, 

President of the United States xi 

Preface by His Holiness Pope Pius XII xiii 

Introduction by Myron C. Taylor I 


Explanatory Note 15 

Letter from President Roosevelt to His Holiness 17 

DECEMBER 23, 1939 

Reply of His Holiness to President Roosevelt 21 

JANUARY 7, 1940 


Explanatory Note 27 

Letter from President Roosevelt to His Holiness 3 1 

FEBRUARY 14, 1940 

Reply of His Holiness to President Roosevelt 3 3 

MARCH 16, 1940 

Letter from His Holiness to President Roosevelt 35 

AUGUST 22, 1940 

Reply of President Roosevelt to His Holiness 37 

OCTOBER I, 1940 


Explanatory Note 41 

Letter from His Holiness to President Roosevelt 43 

DECEMBER 20, 1940 

Reply of President Roosevelt to His Holiness 45 

MARCH 3, 1941 



Explanatory Note 49 

Message from President Roosevelt to His Holiness 51 


Message from His Holiness to President Roosevelt 53 



Explanatory Note 57 

Letter from President Roosevelt to His Holiness 61 

SEPTEMBER 3, 194! 

Reply of His Holiness to President Roosevelt 63 

SEPTEMBER 20, 194! 


Explanatory Note 67 

Letter from President Roosevelt to His Holiness 71 

SEPTEMBER 3, 1942 

Reply of His Holiness to President Roosevelt 73 

SEPTEMBER 25, 1942 


Explanatory Note 77 

Message from President Roosevelt to His Holiness 79 

DECEMBER 31, 1942 

Reply of His Holiness to President Roosevelt 81 

JANUARY 5, 1943 


Explanatory Note 85 

Letter from His Holiness to President Roosevelt 89 

MAY 18, 1943 


Reply of President Roosevelt to His Holiness 91 

JUNE 16, 1943 

Message from President Roosevelt to His Holiness 93 

[TELEGRAM] JULY 10, 1943 

Reply of His Holiness to President Roosevelt 95 

JULY 19, 1943 

Letter from His Holiness to President Roosevelt 99 

AUGUST 30, 1943 


Explanatory Note 103 

Message from President Roosevelt to His Holiness 109 

[TELEGRAM] JUNE 14, 1944 

Message from His Holiness to President Roosevelt in 

[TELEGRAM] JUNE 19, 1944 

Message for His Holiness Conveyed in Instruction 
from President Roosevelt to Mr. Taylor 113 

AUGUST 3, 1944 

Reply of His Holiness to President Roosevelt 
through Mr. Taylor 115 

AUGUST 7, 1944 

Message from His Holiness to President Roosevelt 117 


Message from President Roosevelt to His Holiness 119 



Explanatory Note 123 

Message from His Holiness to 
President Harry S. Truman 125 

[TELEGRAM] APRIL 13, 1945 

Message fiom His Holiness to 
Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt 127 

[TELEGRAM] APRIL 13, 1945 


By Courtesy oj Frank 0. Salisbury 

The Honorable Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America 



President of the United States 

It is in the American tradition of open diplomacy that the 
world should be given the texts of the messages exchanged 
between my lamented predecessor and His Holiness the Pope. 
This correspondence began in the dark days of December 
1939, when President Roosevelt, animated by the desire to 
work for peace and the alleviation of human suffering more 
effectively through parallel efforts by those in government and 
those in religion, sent Honorable Myron C. Taylor on a 
Special Mission as his Personal Representative to His Holiness. 

Mr. Taylor arrived in Italy for his first visit in the dangerous 
and uncertain days of 1940, days which were the forerunner 
of even more tragic sorrows to come as the war widened and 
suffering overspread the world. Thereafter he has gone to 
Rome from time to time as circumstances warranted. 

The objectives and accomplishments of these great en' 
deavors, alike in the field of humanitarian activity and in 
seeking an enduring peace, are reflected in the messages ex' 
changed between the late President and His Holiness, the 
texts of which are now given publication. 

These messages, written during a momentous period of 
history, constitute a record of incalculable value. That record 
belongs to all who sought through victory, and continue to 
seek, the blessings of universal peace and security and well' 
being. It will be read with interest and appreciation by our 
contemporaries and will have a permanent place in the history 
of the greatest war in the annals of mankind. 





The late Honorable Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the 
United States, in his letter addressed to Us on the I4th ofFebru' 
ary 1940 clearly set forth the purpose he had in mind in sending 
his Personal Representative to the Holy See. It was that the one 
so designated by him would be "the channel of communication 
for any views You and I might wish to exchange in the interest 
of concord among the peoples of the world." 

The correspondence published herewith and the observa/ 
tions and references to be found therein, brief though they be 
at times and occasioned by circumstances, show how well the 
appointment has served the purpose intended. Its full signify 
cance however was much more far/reaching than this, as may 
be gathered from a perusal of the letters themselves. 

The fortunate outcome of numberless occurrences which 
arose both during the course of the war and in the post/war 
period, the solution of urgent problems, the interchange of inv 
portant information, the organization of American relief which 
flowed in such generous streams to alleviate the misery begotten 
of the war, all these would have been well nigh unthinkable 
and almost impossible, were it not for the designation of a Per' 
sonal Representative of the President and the magnanimous 
cooperation and achievements of His Excellency, Mr. Myron 


FROM THE VATICAN, Ai4U$t 6, 1^6 


Introduction by 
Myron C. Taylor 



The publication on the second anniversary of President 
Roosevelt's death of the wartime correspondence between him 
and Pope Pius XII is undertaken, with the authority and ap' 
proval of President Truman and of His Holiness, as a tribute 
to oneextremelyimportant manifestation oftheforwardxlooking 
leadership of the great War President. Messages were exchanged 
over the period from December, I939> whenPresidentRoosevelt 
decided to send a Personal Representative to His Holiness, 
until the end of 1944. The last messages in this volume are the 
Pope's poignant condolences sent to President Truman and to 
Mrs. Roosevelt on April 1 3 , 1945, the day after the sudden and 
untimely ending of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's life shocked 
the entire civilized world. 

In all his efforts for world peace and the betterment of man' 
kind, President Roosevelt was always conscious of the funda^ 
mental strength in human affairs of moral and spiritual forces. 
Throughout the early years of his Presidency, aided by the far/- 
seeing statesmanship of Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Mr. 
Roosevelt placed every resource of his gifted talents, his unusual 
personality, and his high office in the service of the preservation 
of peace, of amity and understanding among nations, and of the 
material and spiritual advancement of the individual human 
being. The vision the hope of Franklin D. Roosevelt was 
a world order built upon firm moral and political foundations, 
upon the principle of the Good Neighbor, upon economic 
progress and social justice, upon the essential human freedoms, 

and upon respect for the dignity of the human soul. Toward 
the attainment of that hope he exercised his highest powers of 
constructive leadership. As the moral and political bulwarks 
of world peace collapsed one by one in the swiftly deteriorating 
circumstances of the late thirties, he sought to stay the hands 
raised against peace and to clarify for the peoples of his own 
and of other lands the true character of the perils which threat* 
ened them. 

The outbreak of war in Europe put a ruthless ending to all 
efforts for the preservation of peace. It became necessary for our 
own country to place itself in a position of adequate self/defense 
in the face of increasing uncertainties and of emerging dangers 
to our own peaceful existence. It also became imperative for us 
in our own best national interest to exercise our influence and 
leadership to prevent, if possible, the spread of war; to explore 
all possibilities of bringing the war to a quick and just con' 
elusion; to assuage the human suffering caused by the hostili^ 
ties; and to lay the foundations for a better world after the termi' 
nation of the conflict. It was to these great tasks of self-defense, 
of humanity, and of peace that President Roosevelt turned his 
attention after Hitler's mechanized forces hurled themselves 
upon Poland on September i, 1939. 

The President was convinced that a closer association in all 
parts of the free world between those in government and those 
in religion who shared common ideals was essential to the end 
that their thought and action could be brought unitedly to bear 
upon the vast problems of peace and of the suffering that loomed 
ahead. Accordingly, on December 23, 1939, in messages to 
leaders of the Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish faiths, he pro' 
posed that political and religious forces undertake to re/enforce, 
by direct discussions, their respective endeavors for peace and 
the alleviation of human suffering. 

In these letters, addressed to His Holiness Pope Pius XII, to 
the President of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ 

in America, Dr. George A. Buttrick, and to the President of 
the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Rabbi Cyrus 
Adler, the President expressed his deep hope "that all of the 
churches of the world which believe in a common God will 
throw the great weight of their influence into this great cause." 
Looking to parallel action for the re/establishment of peace 
when the day for that came, and for the alleviation of suffering 
during the war, he invited the leaders of the Protestant and 
Jewish faiths resident in the United States to come to Wash/ 
ington from time to time to discuss problems with him person/ 
ally. To His Holiness in Rome, with whom personal exchanges 
of views were possible only through correspondence and a 
trusted intermediary, he suggested sending a Personal Repre/ 
sentative to act as a channel of communication and an instru/ 
ment of similar discussions. 

These letters met with immediate and cordial acceptance 
by the leaders of the three faiths, and the ensuing years witnessed 
a mobilization of the moral and spiritual forces of mankind on 
a scale of widespread influence never before seen in history. 
This glorious effort will ever be a monument to the memory of 
President Roosevelt. 

It was my great privilege and honor to have been chosen as the 
President's Personal Representative to the Pope. When the 
President telephoned on the evening of December 22, 1939, to 
ask me to undertake this task of high trust and responsibility, 
I was serving as his Personal Representative on the Intergovern/ 
mental Committee on Political Refugees, to the work of which 
he had called me in April of the preceding year shortly after 
my retirement from business activities. On a number of occa/ 
sions during my service on the Intergovernmental Committee, 
I had been in touch with the Vatican which was likewise 
active in carrying forward that great humanitarian work. It 

appeared to the President that the new responsibility which he 
desired to entrust to me if agreeable also to the Pope, would be 
both a continuation and an extension of the vital field of en^ 
deavor in which I was already engaged. 

On the morning of December 23 I undertook to carry out 
the new mission to the best of my ability, and to leave for Rome 
as soon as health permitted. The agreeability of this choice to 
His Holiness was conveyed to the President by the Apostolic 
Delegate in Washington, Archbishop Amleto Giovanni 
Cicognani, through the services of Archbishop Francis J. 
Spellman. His Holiness wrote personally to the President on 
January 7, 1940, responding with appreciation to all of the 
President's suggestions. 

Happily for the friendly association thus begun, His Holi' 
ness was not a stranger to the President, or to me. In the autumn 
of 1936, Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, who three years later was 
elected Pope and who was then Secretary of State under Pope 
Pius XI, had visited the United States and had talked with 
the President at Hyde Park. The basis of their mutual respect 
was laid and their mutual appreciation of each other's qualities 
of leadership was begun in those talks. During the same trip 
Cardinal Pacelli had been a guest in my home in New York. 
The President had visited Italy, and I had frequently spent 
brief periods of time there, particularly in Florence, where I had 
maintained a home for many years. Most fortunate conditions for 
readily undertaking personal discussions accordingly existed 
at the very beginning of the exchange of views between the 
President and the Pope. While both the President and I were 
of Episcopalian faith, we, with America as a whole, regarded 
the cause of peace and the amelioration ofhuman distress during 
the war as in no sense either sectarian or partisan, but instead 
as universal to all men seeking the well/being of mankind in a 
peaceful world under moral law. 

The activities initiated at the end of 1939 began at a time 

when, under dire threat to their peace and even survival, na/ 
tions in or near the theater of war in Europe faced the future 
without a shred of dependable security against attack. Some 
responded with passive hope, some with determination, all 
with weakness compared with the ready forces of the enemy. 
Nations farther away were not only affected in nearly every 
aspect of daily individual and national life, but were confronted 
with the grave possibilities of witnessing aggression once again 
crowned with victory and even of attack eventually upon them/ 
selves. Our own country's hope of living at peace in a world of 
friendly neighbors was gravely in jeopardy. 

The President had made every practicable effort to prevent 
the onset of the war. His Holiness had done likewise in the 
sphere of the Church. Both now sought to prevent the war 
from spreading, as well as to commence the consideration of 
the bases of an enduring peace in the future, which would lift 
the burdens of warring and distress from the backs of all men. 
Efforts toward the first objective had long been under way in 
the Department of State, and Secretary of State Cordell Hull 
had just organized an Advisory Committee on Problems of 
Foreign Relations, composed of his associates in the Depart-' 
ment, to assist him in considering problems of peace. 

The President asked me, just before my departure for Rome 
on February 16, to undertake discussions especially on four 
bases of peace which he had been turning over in his mind. 
These were freedom of religion, freedom of communication of 
news and knowledge, reduction of armament, and freedom of 
trade between nations. It was also desired that estimates and 
impressions concerning a possible early ending of the war should 
be explored in all quarters with which I would come in touch. 
I carried with me for His Holiness a letter of credence, dated 
February 14, in which the President laid stress upon his hope 
that through parallel endeavors "the common ideals of religion 
and of humanity itself can have united expression for the re/ 

establishment of a more permanent peace . . /* His Holiness 
received me on February 27, and asked me to convey His 
warmest personal regards to President Roosevelt. Thus began 
the first of seven visits. Two were as brief as one or two weeks. 
Four were as long as a month or longer. One was a year in 



It was necessary promptly to organize a small office for the 
conduct of work. Although as earlier in connection with the 
special work for refugees the President had conferred on me 
the honorary rank of Ambassador in order to facilitate adex 
quately the official representationabroad of our ChiefExecutive, 
he desired to distinguish all aspects of my office from those of a 
diplomatic embassy. He equally desired to make clear that the 
Personal Representative's mission was to His Holiness person^ 
ally rather than to the Vatican as such. The office, therefore, 
was established in my own apartment in Kome, and continued 
there excepting during the emergency period while Italy was 
at war with the United States, which temporarily required its 
location in Vatican City. 

The staff consisted of an assistant, Mr. Harold H. Tittmann, 
detached for special duty from the American Foreign Service, 
and, in due course, a personal secretary and a clerk. Subset 
quently, during the crowded year between the liberation of 
Rome and the establishment again of a fully functioning 
American diplomatic mission to the Government of Italy, 
when for a time my office was the only civilian American 
agency in Italy, the staff was augmented by a second assistant, 
Mr. Franklin C. Gowen, who afterward remained as sole 
assistant, and temporarily also by three additional clerks. 

The work of the office with respect both to the American 
Embassy in Rome and to the Department of State in Wash' 
ington was so organized as to provide, apart from such matters 
as the President or His Holiness regarded as of reserved confi" 

dence, for the fullest exchange of information and other co/ 
operation concerning its work. The reports submitted to Pres' 
ident Roosevelt were customarily transmitted by him to the 
Secretary of State. Usually, while in Rome or while travelling 
to and from Rome, opportunity was taken at the same time, on 
the President's request, for personal discussions with foreign 
officials on the currents of thought in their countries and in ours, 

While naturally the main subjects of discussion contem/ 
plated within the purposes of the mission were considered di' 
rectly between His Holiness and the Personal Representative 
of the President, other matters, particularly detailed relief prob/ 
lems and arrangements for presentation of visiting Americans 
requesting to be received by His Holiness, were largely raised 
with the officials of the Secretariat of State of His Holiness. 
Among these officials were the able and always helpful Secret 
tary of State, Cardinal Luigi Maglione (until his regrettable 
decease soon after the liberation of Rome), and the two prin' 
cipal Under Secretaries of State, Monsignor Domenico Tardini 
and Monsignor Giovanni B. Montini, on both of whom it was 
always possible to depend for sympathetic and intelligent con' 
sideration of problems, whether burdensome or not. In the 
periods between my visits to Rome, matters needing attention 
were referred to my assistant there or were considered by me in 
the United States by telegraph or through the distinguished 
Apostolic Delegate in Washington, Archbishop Cicognani. 

In the first audience, His Holiness extended to me a gracious 
invitation to call without formal appointment in order that our 
conversations could occur whenever mutual convenience served 
and as often as circumstances warranted. In view of the vast 
and complex problems raised in considering the bases of world 
peace, and the manifold problems which the attempts to relieve 
the war's human suffering entailed, discussions between us were 
held frequently throughout the periods of my various visits to 

Rome. To this may be attributed in some degree that accumu- 
lation of mutual understanding and clarification of common 
views which gradually resulted and which equally gratified 
President Roosevelt and His Holiness. 

I wish in these pages to express my lasting gratitude to my 
associates for their superb devotion to duty, oftentimes in con' 
ditions of personal danger, and to my wife, Anabel Taylor, 
whose courageous and ever-thoughtful assistance and support 
eased for me many of the difficulties which I gladly faced in 
the discharge of my responsibilities. 


President Roosevelt and Pope Pius XII carried on their parallel 
endeavors for more than five years, which all but covered the 
entire span of the most deadly attack on the foundations of 
Christian civilization and the most exhausting strife in man' 
kind's annals. Upon the outcome of that war the future course 
of mankind had been staked. Its issues were ultimate and un/ 
compromising, and their true character had been discerned 
almost too late. Victory had come perilously close to being lost 
throughout the first half of these years. It was finally won only 
by the aroused and united strength and will of every force in 
the world, armed and unarmed, determined to survive and 
build at last for mankind a peace with security, justice, and 
moral and material well/being & peace to be guarded vigil/ 
andy, and enforced when need be. 

For "this great cause" President Roosevelt had striven with 
all his life's strength. The co/work between him and Pope Pius 
XII and others in the spiritual and humanitarian spheres of 
like devotion to this cause at home and abroad, was a mani' 
festation of his inspired efforts to give to the world's moral 
forces, during these years of fateful crisis, unity of goal and 
plan, leadership in concerting their influence, encouragement 
for their humanitarian services to alleviate suffering, and conv 
mon expression of their hopes and purposes in the future de-> 

cisions as to the peace and welfare of mankind. While their 
leadership was from a national position on one hand and a 
religious position on the other, the challenge they confronted 
and accepted was, at bottom, a moral one, and their respective 
efforts were for moral objectives. 

The respect and friendship between tne President and His 
Holiness allowed them freely to exchange views and to labor, 
with failures and successes, for the accomplishment of their 
common purposes. Despite the most constructive efforts each 
could make, their independent efforts, made without prior 
consultation but for the same ends, to prevent the outbreak of 
the world war had been defeated by circumstances not alter-' 
able except by prepared military power. After the war had 
begun, their efforts to prevent its spread, particularly as regards 
Italy, had likewise failed. But their further labors were fruitful 
of constructive results: the lifting of the weight of suffering in 
all places that the hands of sympathy and help could reach to 
bring succor and comfort; the avoidance of misunderstanding 
of the spirit and intentions of the United Nations in the fighting 
in Italy; the ending of the war without confusion among the 
many moral forces which had found expression in these en> 
deavors; the hope and encouragement to strive for a better life 
for men and nations in the future, which helped to provide 
firm purpose and steadiness of courage in an era of upheaval 
and profound questioning; and the widening of areas of com' 
mon views concerning the bases on which to build just and 
enduring peace. 

The world was fortunate indeed to have had in its darkest 
hour the vitality of leadership of which the parallel endeavors 
were a part a leadership which placed these vital activities 
upon so high a moral, spiritual and humanitarian plane. 

The opportunity of representing President Roosevelt in his 
exchanges of views with Pope Pius XII in the service of the 
great cause to which they were both dedicated is the source for 

me of most cherished reflection. It was my good fortune to have 
been chosen to be the means for conveying from one to the 
other the innermost thoughts of two men of such eminence of 
world stature and of such talent and devotion as President 
Franklin D. Roosevelt and His Holiness Pope Pius XII. It is 
my hope that the inspiration that one could not fail to receive 
from long and intimate talks with President Roosevelt and 
His Holiness on mankind's great problems may in some mea^ 
sure be shared by all men through the reading and study of the 
messages which they exchanged. 

These messages are the essential record of the fruitful dis' 
cussions and efforts carried on by two great leaders. They do 
not of themselves, of course, reflect all the circumstances of the 
time or present fully all the specific problems to which they 
refer. While not assuming the privilege of supplementing them, 
I have nevertheless taken the liberty of making a few explana^ 
tory notes in order to place these notable messages within the 
framework of the continuing relationship in which they were 
written. The messages, period by period, comprise ten groups 
of exchanges of views, and are so arranged here. 


The efforts in course when the untimely death of President 
Roosevelt intervened were continued without interruption by 
President Harry S. Truman. At that time, in 1945, the ardent 
hopes of mankind for friendly understanding and real neigh' 
borliness, for the binding up of the wounds of war, for reconx 
sanction of conditions of material and moral well/being, and 
for the establishment of true peace and security in the world, 
were yet to be realized. The path was obscured by the shadows 
of past events, the perplexities of the present, and the uncertain^ 
ties of the future. Faith alone could look to the horizon of the 
better day all mankind yearned to see. The war had conse^ 
quences too far/reaching and penetrating in all aspects of social, 
economicand political lifeforthese hopes to be attained quickly. 


Profound conflicts of principle and policy continued to persist 
in many quarters of the globe. 

In the spring of 1946, President Truman requested me to 
visit Rome again for further exchanges of views with His Holi' 
ness. On that occasion, he gave expression both to the world's 
need and to his own convictions that every resource must be 
employed to bring enduring peace to the troubled peoples of 
the world. He said: 

"There is no minimizing the gravity of the days in which 
we live. I feel the necessity of having for my guidance 
the counsel and cooperation of all men and women of 
good will whether in religion, in government, or in the 
pursuits of everyday life. I have therefore sought the 
advice of leaders in religion of various convictions and 
allegiances not only in this country but from abroad. I 
feel that all have a vital contribution to make. I shall 
continue to welcome the counsel of such leaders to the 
end that the voice of conscience may be heard in the 
councils of nations as they seek a solution of that age' 
old problem: the government of man.'* 

It was with these noble thoughts to guide me that I pro/ 
ceeded to Rome last summer and again in the late autumn for 
brief visits. 

No better opportunity will perhaps ever come to express 
my deep sense of the honor extended me by the confidence of 
President Roosevelt and President Truman and by the trust 
and friendliness of His Holiness the Pope. It is my prayerful 
hope that, with God's help, our President and Pope Pius XII 
and all men of good will may continue to seek and to accomx 
plish, within the limit of human capacity, the realization of the 
great ideals for the vindication of which mankind so heroically 
endured its greatest trial of war. 

WASHINGTON, D. c., January iS t 1947 


The First Exchange. 




The two messages which follow represent the fast exchange in the 
correspondence between President Roosevelt and Pope Pius XII. 
Reference has already been made in the Introduction to the circum** 
stances under which this correspondence was initiated. 

These messages set forth at length the thoughts which actuated the 
two men in embarking upon their parallel endeavors for peace and the 
alleviation of human suffering through a mobilization of the moral 
forces of mankind. M. c. T. 

Letter from President Roosevelt to His Holiness 

DECEMBER 23,1939 

Your Holiness: 

Because, at this Christmas time, the world is in sorrow, it is espex 
cially fitting that I send you a message of greeting and of faith. 

The world has created for itself a civilization capable of 
giving to mankind security and peace firmly set in the founds* 
tions of religious teachings. Yet, though it has conquered the 
earth, the sea, and even the air, civilization today passes through 
war and travail. 

I take heart in remembering that in a similar time, Isaiah 
first prophesied the birth of Christ. Then, several centuries 
before His coming, the condition of the world was not unlike 
that which we see today. Then, as now, a conflagration had 
been set; and nations walked dangerously in the light of the 
fires they had themselves kindled. But in that very moment a 
spiritual rebirth was foreseen, a new day which was to loose 
the captives and to consume the conquerors in the fire of their 
own kindling; and those who had taken the sword were to 
perish by the sword. There was promised a new age wherein 
through renewed faith the upward progress of the human race 
would become more secure. 

Again, during the several centuries which we refer to as the 
Dark Ages, the flame and sword of barbarians swept over 
Western civilization; and, again, through a re>kindling of the 
inherent spiritual spark in mankind, another rebirth brought 
back order and culture and religion. 

I believe that the travail of today is a new form of these old 
conflicts. Because the tempo of all worldly things has been so 


greatly accelerated in these modern days we can hope that the 
period of darkness and destruction will be vastly shorter than 
in the olden times. 

In their hearts men decline to accept, for long, the law of 
destructionforced upon them by wieldersofbrute force. Always 
they seek, sometimes in silence, to find again the faith without 
which the welfare of nations and the peace of the world cannot 
be rebuilt. 

I have the rare privilege of reading the letters and confidences 
of thousands of humble people, living in scores of different 
nations. Their names are not known to history, but their daily 
work and courage carry on the life of the world. I know that 
these, and uncounted numbers like them in every country, are 
looking for a guiding light. We remember that the Christinas 
Star was first seen by shepherds in the hills, long before the 
leaders knew of the Great Light which had entered the world. 

I believe that while statesmen are considering a new order 
of things, the new order may well be at hand. I believe that it is 
even now being built, silently but inevitably, in the hearts of 
masses whose voices are not heard, but whose common faith 
will write the final history of our time. They know that unless 
there is belief in some guiding principle and some trust in a 
divine plan, nations are without light, and peoples perish. They 
know that the civilization handed down to us by our fathers 
was built by men and women who knew in their hearts that all 
were brothers because they were children of God. They believe 
that by His will enmities can be healed; that in His mercy the 
weak can find deliverance, and the strong can find grace in 
helping the weak. 

In the grief and terror of the hour, these quiet voices, if they 
can be heard, may yet tell of the re/building of the world. 

It is well that the world should think of this at Christmas. 

Because the people of this nation have come to a realization 
that time and distance no longer exist in the older sense, they 

18 . 

understand that that which harms one segment of humanity 
harms all the rest. They know that only by friendly association 
between the seekers of light and the seekers of peace everywhere 
can the forces of evil be overcome. 

In these present moments, no spiritual leader, no civil leader 
can move forward on a specific plan to terminate destruction 
and build anew. Yet the time for that will surely come. 

It is, therefore, my thought that though no given action or 
given time may now be prophesied, it is well that we encourage 
a closer association between those in every part of the world 
those in religion and those in government who have a conv 
mon purpose. 

I am, therefore, suggesting to Your Holiness that it would 
give me great satisfaction to send to You my personal repre' 
sentative in order that our parallel endeavors for peace and the 
alleviation of suffering may be assisted. 

When the time shall come for the re/establishment of world 
peace on a surer foundation, it is of the utmost importance to 
humanity and to religion thar common ideals shall have united 

Furthermore, when that happy day shall dawn, great prob" 
lems of practical import will face us all. Millions of people of 
all races, all nationalities and all religions may seek new lives 
by migration to other lands or by re^establishment of old homes. 
Here, too, common ideals call for parallel action. 

I trust, therefore, that all of the churches of the world which 
believe in a common God will throw the great weight of their 
influence into this great cause. 

To You, whom I have the privilege of calling a good friend 
md an old friend, I send my respectful greetings at this 
Christmas Season. 

Cordially yours, 



Reply of His Holiness to President Roosevelt 

JANUARY 7, 1940 

Your Excellency: 

The memorable message that Your Excellency was pleased 
to have forwarded to Us on the eve of the Holy Feast of Christ/ 
mas has brightened with a ray of consolation, of hope and 
confidence, the suffering, the heart/rending fear and the bitter/ 
ness of the peoples caught up in the vortex of war. For this all 
right/minded men have paid you the spontaneous tribute of 
their sincere gratitude. 

We have been deeply moved by the noble thought con/ 
tained in your note, in which the spirit of Christmas and the 
desire to see it applied to the great human problems have found 
such eloquent expression; and fully persuaded of its extra/ 
ordinary importance We lost no time in communicating it to 
the distinguished gathering present that very morning in the 
Consistorial Hall of this Apostolic Vatican Palace, solemnly 
expressing before the world, Catholic and non/Catholic alike, 
Our appreciation of this courageous document, inspired by a 
far/seeing statesmanship and a profound human sympathy. 

We have been particularly impressed by one characteristic 
feature of Your Excellency's message; the vital, spiritual contact 
with the thoughts and the feelings, the hopes and the aspirations 
of the masses of the people, of those classes, namely, on whom 
more than others, and in a measure never felt before, weighs the 
burden of sorrow and sacrifice imposed by the present restless 
and tempestuous hour. Also for this reason none perhaps better 
than We can understand the meaning, the revealing power and 
the warmth of feeling manifest in this act of Your Excellency. 


In fact Our own daily experience tells Us of the deep->seated 
yearning for peace that fills the hearts of the common people. 
In the measure that the war with its direct and indirect reper- 
cussions spreads; and the more economic, social and family 
life is forcibly wrenched from its normal bases by the continue 
ation of the war, and is forced along the way of sacrifice and 
every kind of privation, the bitter need of which is not always 
plain to all; so much the more intense is the longing for peace 
that pervades the hearts of men and their determination to find 
and to apply the means that lead to peace. 

When that day dawns and We would like to hope that 
it is not too far distant on which the roar of battle will lapse 
into silence and there will arise the possibility of establishing a 
true and sound peace dictated by the principles of justice and 
equity, only he will be able to discern the path that should be 
followed who unites with high political power a clear under- 
standing of the voice of humanity along with a sincere reverence 
for the divine precepts of life as found in the Gospel of Christ. 
Only men of such moral stature will be able to create the peace, 
that will compensate for the incalculable sacrifices of this war 
and clear the way for a comity of nations, fair to all, efficacious 
and sustained by mutual confidence. 

We are fully aware of how stubborn the obstacles are that 
stand in the way of attaining this goal, and how they become 
daily more difficult to surmount. And if the friends of peace 
do not wish their labors to be in vain, they should visualize 
distinctly the seriousness of these obstacles, and the consequently 
slight probability of immediate success so long as the present 
state of the opposing forces remains essentially unchanged. 

As Vicar on earth of the Prince of Peace, from the first days 
of Our Pontificate We have dedicated Our efforts and Our 
solicitude to the purpose of maintaining peace, and afterwards 
of re-establishing it. Heedless of momentary lack of success and 
of the difficulties involved, We are continuing to follow along 


the path marked out for Us by Our Apostolic mission. As 
We walk this path, often rough and thorny, the echo which 
reaches Us from countless souls, both wichin and outside the 
Church together with the consciousness of duty done, is for 
Us abundant and consoling reward. 

And now that in this hour of world/wide pain and mis/ 
giving the Chief Magistrate of the great Northern American 
Federation, under the spell of the Holy Night of Christmas, 
should have taken such a prominent place in the vanguard of 
those who would promote peace and generously succor the 
victims of the war, bespeaks a providential help, which We 
acknowledge with grateful joy and increased confidence. It is 
an exemplary act of fraternal and hearty solidarity between the 
New and the Old World in defence against the chilling breath 
of aggressive and deadly godless and antichristian tendencies, 
that threaten to dry up the fbuntainhead whence civilization 
has come and drawn its strength. 

In such circumstances We shall find a special satisfaction, 
as We have already informed Your Excellency, in receiving 
with all the honor due to his well/known qualifications and 
to the dignity of his important mission, the representative who 
is to be sent to Us as the faithful interpreter of your mind re/ 
garding the procuring of peace and the alleviation of sufferings 
consequent upon the war. 

Recalling with keen joy the pleasant memories left Us after 
Our unforgettable visit to your great nation, and living over 
again the sincere pleasure that personal acquaintance with Your 
Excellency brought Us, We express in turn Our hearty good 
wishes, with a most fervent prayer for the prosperity of Your 
Excellency and of all the people of the United States. 


Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, the 7th day of 
January, 1940, the First Year of Our Pontificate. 

The Dark Days 


The four messages (III'VI) in this group relate to the fast visit to 
Rome of the President's Personal Representative to the Pope. That 
visit lasted from February 27 to August 22, 1940. 

Message No. Ill is the text of a handwritten letter from President 
Roosevelt to His Holiness, which I presented at myfrst audience. 
Message No. IV is the Pope's reply, banded to me for transmission to 
the President on March 16, 1940. 

By that time, conversations with His Holiness and with various 

foreign officials at the Vatican had confirmed the view that there was no 

hope of reestablishing peace. Any effort of mediation by neutral states 

would be untimely and would surely be rebuffed by the Axis Govern* 

ments, whose position currently was whollyfavorable to their ambitions. 

Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles was arriving at the same 

conclusion from the direct conversations he was then having with heads 

of governments in Europe. The message of His Holiness to the Presi<> 

dent was accordingly written in conditions filed with depression and 


Since the Government of Italy under Mussolini was just then 
committing itself to early action against France and Great Britain, 
a decision being indicated by numerous reports and activities, the only 
possibility that remained of keeping the war from spreading in the Medi" 
terranean area lay in an appeal to him. It was evident that if any such 
appeal could persuade Mussolini to remain a non'billigerent, it must 
come from the President or His Holiness. In these circumstances, the 
President appealed immediately to Mussolini, and when unsuccessful, 
appealed again. 

By mid' April, both the President and the Pope felt that the strongest 
possible urging was imperative. This action toward the same objective 
was undertaken promptly with prior arrangement though independently 
and without consultation as to the substance of the communications. The 
Pope wrote to Mussolini on April 24. The President addressed bis 
further appeals immediately afterward, and again on May 14. Mussolini, 

however, believing that Italy was imprisoned in the Mediterranean, 
wanted ee windows on the Atlantic on the one band and the Red Sea 
and the Indian Ocean on the other." The appeals were summarily re<> 

Meanwhile, on April $, German forces invaded Denmark and 
Norway and, on May 9, Belgium, Luxembourg and The Netherlands. 
By May 30, British forces began to evacuate Dunkirk and France con* 
fronted imminent disastrous defeat. On a schedule known six weeks in 
advance, undeterred to the end by the far-sighted arguments that had been 
made to him, Mussolini on June 10 led Italy into war against France 
and Britain. France surrendered to Germany on June 22 and to Italy 
on June 24. Britain fought on under heavy attack from the air and on 
the seas with her weakness desperately concealed, and with her stamina 
fortified by immediate threat to her survival 

As these events were occurring, the President condemned the 
new aggressions. His Holiness wrote messages of sympathy to the Low 
Countries. A crucial stage had been reached. The strongest efforts to 
prevent the spread of war had failed. 

There remained for action at the moment only two constructive 
lines of work. To provide for relief of suffering was the first. In Poland, 
where hostilities had ceased, the plight of millions of people had become 
tragic, and His Holiness expressed anxiety over the failure of all relief 
efforts so far. Elsewhere in the active combat areas distress was mounting 
lut the possibilities of relief were as yet scant In this field the United 
States Government, lacking controls over organized relief efforts aside 
from those of the American Red Cross, could only encourage action hy 
others. President Roosevelt asked me in July to convey to His Holiness 
his hopes that maximum relief could he extended to all the stricken 
civilian populations, and that relief agencies would he encouraged to co<> 
ordinate their activities as effectively as possible. 

The second field of work was to consider, as and when developing 
thought might warrant, the bases of an enduring peace. The altered 
circumstances of the war and the resulting confusion as to the future 
suggested, however, the need of consultation at home before proceeding 


further. A recurrence of ill health on my part also rendered return 

I took my departure on August 22, carrying to the President a letter 
from His Holiness (Message No. V) reflecting his continuing faith as 
to the future despite the discouragements of the hour. Following my re<> 
port to the President, the President wrote to His Holiness on October i 
(Message No. VI) expressing his ownfrm intention not to abandon, 
despite the grim outlook, the search for the way to a truly peaceful 
world order. M.C.T. 



Letter from President Roosevelt to His Holiness 

FEBRUARY 14, 1940 

Your Holiness: 

In my letter of December 23, 1939 1 had the honor to suggest 
that it would give me great satisfaction to send to You my own 
representative in order that our parallel endeavors for peace and 
the alleviation of suffering might be assisted. Your Holiness 
was good enough to reply that the choice of Mr. Myron C. 
Taylor as my representative was acceptable and that You would 
receive him. 

I am entrusting this special mission to Mr. Taylor who is a 
very old friend of mine, and in whom I repose the utmost con' 
fidence. His humanitarian efforts in behalf of those whom politic 
cal disruption has rendered homeless are well known to Your 
Holiness. I shall be happy to feel that he may be the channel of 
communications for any views You and I may wish to exchange 
in the interest of concord among the peoples of the world. 

I am asking Mr. Taylor to convey my cordial greetings to 
You, my old and good friend, and my sincere hope that the 
common ideals of religion and humanity itself can have united 
expression for the re/establishment of a more permanent peace 
on the foundations of freedom and an assurance of life and in' 
tegrity of all nations under God. 

Cordially Your friend, 


Reply of His Holiness to President Roosevelt 

MARCH 1 6, 1940 

Your Excellency: 

The pleasure which was Ours on the twenty/seventh day of 
February as We received in Solemn Audience the Represent 
tative of Your Excellency was enhanced by the autograph letter 
which he bore from you and placed into Our hands. We are 
sincerely grateful for this further evidence of your solicitude for 
the restoration of peace among nations now estranged as well 
as for the expressions of cordial greeting which you have been 
pleased to use in Our regard. 

We confess to have been sensibly affected as We beheld 
before Us your own Representative come upon a noble mission 
of peace and healing, to seek with Us ways and means of giving 
back to a warring world its rightful heritage of concord and 
the freedom to pursue in justice and tranquility its temporal 
and eternal happiness. In a moment of universal travail, when 
hope contends with fear in the souls of so many millions of 
men, We have been greatly encouraged by the vision of new 
possibilities of beneficent action opened up to us through the 
presence near Us of your distinguished Representative. Since 
the obligations of Christian charity towards the needy and the 
dispossessed have ever constituted a prior claim upon Our affec^ 
tions and resources as they have upon those of Our Prede/ 
cessors, it is with particular satisfaction that We welcome Your 
Excellency's endeavors for the alleviation of suffering. Our 
contemporaries follow with their heartfelt prayers, and posterity 
will hold in honored memory, all those who, undeterred by 
immense difficulties, dedicate themselves to the sacred task of 


staunching the flow of youthful blood upon the fields of battle, 
and to the comforting of civilian victims despoiled and afflicted 
by the cruel conditions of our day. Blessed, indeed, are the 

And although one who with discerning eye surveys the 
present international scene can have no illusions as to the magx 
nitude of the role which has been undertaken, We are con' 
vinced that it is in the interest of all that We should go forward 
with Our labors to the end that the days of grievous trial be 
shortened, preparing and straightening the way, levelling the 
mountains of anger which bar the road to understanding and 
filling up the valleys of distrust and suspicion which divide 
man from man and nation from nation. Thus may We hope 
that the natural law, graven by the Creator on the hearts of 
men, may soon, as it must ultimately, prevail as the universal 
rule of human conduct over arbitrary whim and sordid interest 
which here and there have usurped its place, and that in con' 
sequence the rising generation may be saved from the moral 
illiteracy with which they are threatened. And thus, when all 
shall have come finally to realize that violence is futile and that 
hatred is a sterile force, a wearied world may rejoice in a peace 
builded upon the solid foundation of justice and firmly held 
together by the bonds of fraternal charity. 

We renew to Your Excellency the expression of Our grati' 
tude for your greeting while, in the light of happy remembrance, 
We pray for your continued well-being and for that of the 
American people. 


Given at Rome, from St. Peter's, the I6th day of 
March, 1940, the Second Year of Our Pontificate. 



Letter from His Holiness to President Roosevelt 


Your Excellency: 

The return to the United States of Your Excellency's Personal 
Representative to Us, for the purpose of recruiting in the home' 
land the forces so generously spent in the fulfilment of his noble 
mission, affords Us a welcome opportunity of sending .you 
Our cordial greetings, and of reiterating Our appreciation for 
the presence of Your Envoy near Us. In the light of experience, 
We now have further and ampler proof of the wisdom which 
inspired Your Excellency to despatch your Representative to 
Us, as We also have cause to rejoice at the felicity of choice 
which led you to entrust this important post to the Honorable 
Myron C. Taylor. 

These first months of the mission have occasioned Us great 
satisfaction and, in spite of the dark forebodings of the hour, 
We express Our hope in a future which shall see the re/estab' 
lishment of a general and enduring peace. Although the horrors 
of the war increase and Our sorrow deepens with every passing 
day, We are redoubling Our prayers and Our endeavors to 
find a practicable way to such a peace as will bear within it 
the promise of permanency, and free men from the heavy incu<> 
bus of insecurity and of perpetual alarms. In Our unceasing 
search for that peace which will be no longer, as so often in 
the past, a parenthesis of exhaustion between two phases of 
conflict, but rather, by the grace of God, a golden era of 
Christian concord dedicated to the spiritual and material im/ 
provement of humanity, We feel a distinct sense of comfort in 


the thought that We shall not be without the powerful support 
of the President of the United States. 

It is therefore with heartfelt good will that We again assure 
Your Excellency of Our prayers for your continued health and 
happiness and for the prosperity and progress of the American 


Given at Rome, from St. Peter's, the 22nd day of 
August, 1940, the Second Year of Our Pontificate. 


Reply of President Roosevelt to His Holiness 

OCTOBER I, 1940 

Your Holiness, 

Upon his return to the United States, Mr. Myron C. Taylor 
duly delivered to me Your message of August twentysecond 
and I am deeply gratified by Your Holiness* expression of satis' 
faction concerning Mr. Taylor's mission. 

Particular note has been taken of the assurance of Your 
Holiness* continuing efforts to find the way to a peace which 
bears promise not only of permanency, but also of freedom 
from perpetual alarm and opportunity for the spiritual and 
material improvement of humanity. It seems imperative that 
this search shall not be abandoned, no matter how deep may 
be the shadow of the present strife. It is equally necessary to 
realize that peace as Your Holiness conceives it must be based 
upon the re/establishment of Christian law and doctrine as the 
guiding principles which govern the relations of free men and 
free nations. The spiritual freedom and political independence 
which alone make possible this rebuilding of the structure of 
peace thus become a necessary part of our common goal. In the 
search of it, the Government and people of the United States 
are glad to lend their sympathy and to devote their efforts. 

May I assure Your Holiness of my profound appreciation 
of the reception accorded to Mr. Taylor and of Your message 
of good will. 

May I also take this occasion to send to Your Holiness my 
very deep personal good wishes and to express iny hope and 


wish for Your continued good health. The whole world needs 
You in its search for peace and good will. 

Faithfully yours, 



"The Seekers of Light 

and the 
Seekers of Peace" 


The next occasion for an exchange of messages was President Roosevelt's 
re-election in November, 1940. The Pope's message of congratulation, 
dated December 2o,and the President's reply on March 3, 1941, reflected 
the profound developments which occurred in the course of the war during 
the last few months of the year 1940 and the early months of 1941. 

Great Britain, standing almost alone, continued to sustain the vio* 
lence of full German attack The United States had extended to her the 
help of fifty destroyers in return for leases of needed lasts in the North 
Atlantic and the Caribbean. 

Germany, Italy and Japan had entered into a tensyear military pact. 
The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and the eastern 
part of Rumania had been incorporated into the Soviet Union. France 
under the Vichy regime had broken with Britain on the issue ofpre* 
serving the Frenchfeetfrom enemy use, and had then underttkenfuller 
cooperation with Nazi Germany. 

The war began to spread into the Balkans with Italy's attack on 
Greece and with preparatory moves by Germany after the failure of 
plans to crush Britain by September, 1940. Japan created new tensions 
in the Pacific with repeated indications of military interest in Thailand 
and other parts of Asia and the Southern Pacific, and of political boss 
tility to American embargoes on military materials. 

United States defenses were being strengthened on a widening scale, 
and manpower was being trained. At last, in crucial crisis, the democrat 
cies were developing an arsenal of the instruments vital to their continue 
ance as free peoples. 

The Pope's letter of congratulation (Message No. VII) conveyed 
prayerful encouragement to continue to strive for universal order, justice 
and peace. President Roosevelt responded (Message No. VIII) with 
the hope that lasting concord between men and nations would again he 
established through friendly association among all who sought peace, 
stressing anew that an enduring peace must be founded upon Christian 
principles and upon freedom from the threat of aggression. M.C.T. 



Letter from His Holiness to President Roosevelt 

DECEMBER 2O, 1940 

His Excellency Franklin D. Roosevelt 
President of the United States of America 
Washington, D. C. 

In being elected for a third term to the Presidency of the United 
States of America, at a time of such grave moment for the life 
of nations, Your Excellency has received from your country a 
singular proof of confidence. 

The personal relations had with Your Excellency on the 
occasion of Our visit to the United States, when We were 
Cardinal Secretary of State to the late lamented Supreme Pon' 
tiff, and the gracious reception you extended to Us, put Us in 
the way to appreciate your generous spirit; and today, while We 
offer you congratulations, We pray Almighty God to guide 
your mind and heart in the noble and arduous task of leading 
a free and vigorous people for the greater stability of universal 
order, justice and peace. 

A tangible proof of these generous dispositions We have 
had in your sending His Excellency Mr. Myron Taylor ;o Us, 
as your Personal Representative with rank of Ambassador 
Extraordinary. Special circumstances have interrupted his pres^ 
ence with Us; but We like to hope that the plan for the attain^ 
ment of those high ideals you had in mind may yet be realized. 

Indeed, We are not unaware of the efforts which you made 
to prevent the catastrophic struggle that is heaping up ruin and 
sorrow for a great part of the Old World; and in Our paternal 
solicitude for suffering humanity there is nothing We desire 
more ardently than to see true peace return at long last among 


peoples, who have been too long and too painfully stricken 
and afflicted: that true peace, We mean, that will adjust all 
wrongs, that will recognize with well-judged equity the vital 
necessities of all, and thus mark for the world the beginning of 
a new era of tranquility, collaboration and progress among 
peoples under the longed-for reign of Christian justice and 

While We renew the expression of Our good wishes for 
you personally and for the nation over which you preside, We 
invoke on both an abundance of God's blessings. 


Given at Rome, from the Palace of the Vatican, the twentieth 
day of December, 1940, the Second Year of Our Pontificate. 



Reply of President Roosevelt to His Holiness 

MARCH 3, 1941 

Your Holiness: 

Your Holiness has been good enough to send me a message 
upon the occasion of my re/election to the Presidency of the 
United States of America and to recall the cordial relations I 
had with Your Holiness when, as Cardinal Secretary of State, 
You visited this country. 

I take this occasion not only to express my profound appre' 
ciation of Your message but to reiterate the hope that through 
friendly association between the seekers of light and the seekers 
of peace everywhere a firm basis oflasting concord between men 
and nations can be established throughout the world once 
again. Only when the principles of Christianity and the right 
of all peoples to live free from the threat of external aggression 
are established can that peace which Your Holiness and I so 
ardently desire be found. 

To my deep regret Mr. Myron Taylor has been obliged to 
interrupt his mission in Italy but I hope that his health may 
soon be sufficiently restored to enable him to return to Rome. 

Believe me, with the assurances of my highest regard, 

Yours very sincerely, 



Easter April 


Eastertide, 1941, provided the next occasion for an exchange of messages. 
By that time, the war had moved into all parts of southeastern Europe 
and its repercussions began sharply to affect parts of the Near and 
Middle East. The Axis leaders continued to possess all initiative of 
action, and their success had been hampered seriously only in Greece, 
and denied beyond the coasts of the continent. Hitler decided to attack 
the Soviet Union forewarning of which, when intelligence was re* 
ported in January and in March to the American Government, was 
promptly communicated to the Soviet Government. 

But, darkening as the prospect was, determined resistance continued 
and the necessary means of defense were being provided increasingly. 
The President on January 6 had recommended, and in a few weeks the 
Congress had approved in the interest of our own security, the passage 
of legislation to lendAease supplies and materials to nations defending 
themselves from aggression. 

At the same time the President declared that for a secure future, 
America looked forward to a world founded upon four essential frees 
doms freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, freedom 
from want, and freedom from fear. In his Easter greeting to His Holiness 
(Message No. IX), he further explained his views on these freedoms. 
This message reflected the Presidents deep reliance upon the moral 
sense of humanity, and his faith that the freedoms essential to a moral 
world order were attainable. 

As he had said in an address a year earlier: 

"Today we seek a moral basis for peace. It cannot be a real 
peace if it fails to recognize brotherhood. It cannot be a lasting 
peace if the fruit of it is oppression, or starvation, or cruelty, or 
human life dominated by armed camps. It cannot be a sound 
peace if small nations must live in fear of powerful neighbors. 
It cannot be a moral peace if freedom from invasion is sold for 
tribute. It cannot be an intelligent peace if it denies free passage 


to that knowledge of those ideals which permit men tofnd cow 
mon ground. It cannot be a righteous peace if worship of God 
is denied." 

The message from the Pope replying immediately to the President 
(Message No. X) was written in sadness over the human misery and 
the devastation brought by the spreading conflict in the spring of 1941. 
Its words reflected in turn the unflagging will of His Holiness then, 
and constantly despite all obstacles, to persevere in efforts to ameliorate 
the suffering during the war and to plead to the thought and conscience 
of the world for a true peace. These Easter messages bore eloquent 
testimony to the developing harmony of views concerning thefunda* 
mental goals of the peace toward which the President and Pope Pius 
XII were each so firmly striving. M.C.T. 


Message from President Roosevelt to His Holiness 


His Holiness Pope Pius XII 
Vatican City 

Your Holiness: 

I send You my most cordial greetings at Easter. The time is 
admittedly full of pain and danger. Yet from all parts of the 
world messages reach me which justify the high hope that the 
light of the world is being rekindled. These messages make it 
plain that courageous spirits are everywhere arising above fear, 
and that ever/increasing numbers of brave souls refuse to be 
separated from their Father in Heaven or from their brothers 
on earth by force or by falsehoods or by fear. So long as the 
human spirit is undefeated, the great elementary human free' 
doms will inevitably be triumphant. Here in the United States 
we believe that freedom of worship is the first and greatest need 
of us all. For that reason we have exerted all of our influence 
against religious persecutions, which for the first rime in cen^ 
turies again threaten the brotherhood of man in many parts of 
the world. We have likewise sought freedom of information 
so that no conqueror can enslave men's minds or prevent them 
from finding their way to the truth. We have set our minds to 
attaining freedom from fear, so that no man, no family, no 
nation, need live perpetually under the shadow of danger from 
bombs, invasion, and ensuing devastation. And we propose to 
forward the cause of freedom from want by direct relief where 
this is possible and necessary and by so improving the economic 
processes of life that children may be born and families may be 


reared iri safety and comfort. I am convinced that such a rebirth 
of the moral sense of humanity can muster a force infinitely 
greater than that of a transient parade of arms with nothing 
behind it save the confusion and corruption of a group which 
has lost all spiritual values, and solely lust for power. Only the 
most short-sighted of statesmen can fail to see this. Let me in- 
cude in my greetings this Easter not merely a sense of hope 
which reaches me from many lands, but also my considered 
conviction that these great freedoms are once more attainable. 
Their achievement only awaits the resolute action of men who 
answer bravely the clear call to their ancient fidelity to the Lord 
and to their fellowmen. 



Message from His Holiness to President Roosevelt 


His Excellency Franklin D. Roosevelt 
President of the United States of America 
Washington, D. C. 

We thank Your Excellency for the greetings which you have 
so kindly sent Us for Easter. In these festive days of joyful 
commemoration Our heart is particularly saddened by the 
thought of the massacre and widespread devastation which the 
present conflict is leaving in its wake. In the name of human 
civilization and above all inspired by that divine love brought 
to man by the Redeemer We have not failed and We shall not 
fail to do everything possible to alleviate the sufferings of those 
in need and in carrying out this beneficent work of charity We 
have found unbounded sympathy and generous cooperation 
among Our beloved children of the United States. Not con' 
tent with this We have felt and We feel it Our duty to raise 
Our voice, the voice of a Father not moved by any earthly in^ 
terests but animated only by a desire for the common good of 
all, in a plea for a peace that will be genuine, just, honorable, 
and lasting; a peace that will respect individuals, families and 
nations and safeguard their rights to life, to a reasonable liberty, 
to a conscientious and fervent practice of religion, to true pnv 
gress, and to an equitable participation in the riches which 
providence has distributed with largess over the earth; a peace 
whose spirit and provisions will tend to revitalize and revig' 
orate through new and enlightened organization the true spirit 
of brotherhood among men today so tragically alienated one 
from another. With these hopes which find expression in Our 


fervent prayer to the Divine Goodness We are happy in turn 
to assure Your Excellency at this Eastertide of Our good wishes 
not only for your personal welfare but also for the prosperity of 
the great and cherished people of the United States. 



Assistance to the Soviet Union 


Two events of profound significance occurred during the summer of 
1941. Thefrst was the German attack on the Soviet Union in June. 
The second was the meeting, in August, of President Roosevelt and 
Prime Minister Winston Churchill, which gave rise to their joint 
declaration known as the "Atlantic Charter". 

Thefrst event immediately posed the problem of whether or not 
aid should be given to the Soviet Union, reeling in retreat under the vio* 
lence of the Nazi onslaught. By reason of the Communist philosophy 
of the Soviet Government, the answer to that problem involved the 
fundamental attitudes of most of the worlds peoples and institutions 
regarding some of the most treasured values and aspirations of human 
society which Communism had rejected. The issue as it swiftly emerged, 
however, was in stark fact whether Hitler's intended conquest of Russia, 
so essential to the success of his plans for putting the world under domi' 
nation of a Nazi order in which democracy could not survive, would be 
thwarted or not. 

The Government and people of the United States, as did the 
Government and people of Great Britain, immediately determined to 
give every practicable form of assistance not to Communism, alien 
alike to America's and Britain's faith and way of life, but toward pw 
venting Nazi Germany from conquering the Russian people and thus 
securing the wheat and oil and other means necessary to carry on further 
aggression. To this measured decision was added, as time went on, an 
increasing admiration for the Russian people who despite immense suffers 
ing fought tenaciously in defense of their homeland. 

A problem so posed and so answered was one not only for govern' 
ments and nations but for all churches. This was true in a special way 
for Americans of Catholic faith, who were aware of the encyclical 
issued by Pope Pius XI in 1922 which contained a broad condemnation 
of atheistic communism and forbade collaboration with it, while ex* 
pressing compassion for the suffering and oppression of the Russian 
people. Consequently, clarifications of American feeling and opinion to 


His Holiness regarding aid to the Soviet Union and of the views of 
His Holiness in the same regard, were desirable. The next exchange of 
views between the President and His Holiness was directed to that 
purpose and was the occasion of my second visit to Rome. 

The opportunity to exchange views in connection with the Atlantic 
Charter also made a visit desirable. That document contained, as is well 
known, eight far reaching statements of policy and common principles 
on which its authors based their hope for a better future. 

Since that joint declaration represented a substantial advance over 
the views as to the bases of future peace which had already been discussed 
with the Pope, the President wished me to ascertain whether He found 
its views in harmony with His own. He hoped that if the Charter 
commended itself, as he believe? it would, the Pope would make His 
impressions known to the world. 

The Presidents letter of September 5 (Message No. XI) was 
banded to His Holiness in audience on September $. 

His Holiness confirmed the view that the Holy See condemned 
atheistic communism and Soviet practices regarding individual liberty, 
but that, as at all times, the Holy See continued to regard the Russian 
people with paternal affection. This view was stated in an allocution 
immediately thereafter and again in His Holiness' Christmas Eve 
broadcast the same year. 

While the freedom of conscience and religious worship which was 
assured to the Russian people in Article 124 of the Constitution of the 
U.S.S.R.. was in practice not honored in many essential respects, the 
President had the hope that religious freedom would ultimately be fully 
respected. This hope was fortified at that time by the more favorable 
official Soviet attitude toward religious worship being expressed currently 
in the Soviet press and in an address by the Soviet Ambassador in 
London. Nevertheless, reports of conditions continued to cast doubt on 
whether improvement was progressing, and so this hope necessarily bad 
to continue to rest in the slow processes of time. 

A number of President Roosevelt's views relating to the Atlantic 
Charter were conveyed in the same discussions. The President believed 

that accomplishment of disarmament would take many years. The peace* 
loving nations must be able by police power to prevent aggression. 
Peaceful self 'determination both territorial and political was a con* 
timing process which worked toward elimination of war. He depended 
much upon freedom to trade to contribute to prosperity generally. In 
the existing world confusion the principle of trusteeship unselfish ser* 
vice might well be utilized more widely in international affairs than 
solely in regard to mandates as in the past. Freedom of religion and 
freedom of expression were necessary in every aspect of the future peace 
and called for spiritual leadership in opposition to the pagan views and 
objectives of the Axis powers. 

These views were received with much pleasure by the Pope. The 
notable address by the Pope on the following Christmas, concerning the 
essential conditions of world order under moral law, reflected still further 
growth of harmony of views on the bases of future world peace. 

The letter of His Holiness, dated September 20 (Message No. 
XII), together with His views corresponding to the foregoing, were 
carried to the President upon my return. M.C.T. 



Letter from President Roosevelt to His Holiness 

SEPTEMBER 3, 1941 

Your Holiness: 

At my request, Mr. Myron Taylor will discuss with Your 
Holiness certain matters with regard to which I am very desir' 
ous that he explain my feelings and American opinion. These 
are matters in regard to which I feel very strongly. 

The first of these relates to the problem of the attitude of the 
Russian Government and the Russian people toward religion. 
In so far as I am informed, churches in Russia are open. I be' 
lieve there is a real possibility that Russia may as a result of the 
present conflict recognize freedom of religion in Russia, al' 
though, of course, without recognition of any official inter' 
vention on the part of any church in education or political 
matters within Russia. I feel that if this can be accomplished 
it will put the possibility of the restoration of real religious 
liberty in Russia on a much better footing than religious free' 
dom is in Germany today. 

There are in the United States many people in all churches 
who have the feeling that Russia is governed completely by a 
communistic form of society. In my opinion, the fact is that 
Russia is governed by a dictatorship, as rigid in its manner of 
being as is the dictatorship in Germany. I believe, however, 
that this Russian dictatorship is less dangerous to the safety of 
other nations than is the German form of dictatorship. The 
only weapon which the Russian dictatorship uses outside of its 
own borders is communist propaganda which I, of course, 
recognize has in the past been utilized for the purpose of break' 
ing down the form of government in other countries, religious 


belief, et cetera. Germany, however, not only has utilized, but 
is utilizing, this kind of propaganda as well and has also under' 
taken the employment of every form of military aggression out' 
side of its borders for the purpose of world conquest by force of 
arms and by force of propaganda. I believe that the survival of 
Russia is less dangerous to religion, to the church as such, and 
to humanity in general than would be the survival of the 
German form of dictatorship. Furthermore, it is my belief that 
the leaders of all churches in the United States should recognize 
these facts clearly and should not close their eyes to these basic 
questions and by their present attitude on this question directly 
assist Germany in her present objectives. 

Bearing in mind the common desire which Your Holiness 
and I share that a firm basis for lasting concord between men 
and nations founded on the principles of Christianity can again 
be established, I have asked Mr. Taylor to explain my feelings 
in this matter in order that Your Holiness may understand my 
position in this respect. 

Believe me, with the assurances of my highest regard, 

Yours very sincerely, 



Reply of His Holiness to President Roosevelt 

SEPTEMBER 20, 1941 

Your Excellency: 

We have received with satisfaction and pleasure your esteemed 
letter of September third and we gladly avail Ourselves of the 
return to Washington of His Excellency Mr. Myron C. Tay 
lor to forward to you this note of cordial acknowledgment. 

We learned with gratification of the coining of your Per-" 
sonal Representative, who has always been a devoted and con-* 
scientious bearer of tidings from Your Excellency and who re^ 
mains a welcome link between you and Us. 

Mr. Taylor has called upon Us several times and We have 
been very happy to receive him on each occasion. He has pre^ 
sented to Us a full exposition of those matters which are upper* 
most in the mind of Your Excellency at the present time and 
he has graciously informed Us of your personal feelings and of 
the general sentiment of your people. We, in turn, have ex." 
pressed to Mr. Taylor Our point of view regarding the im^ 
portant matters which were dealt with in our conversations. 
He has assured Us that, upon his return to Washington, he 
will give Your Excellency an accurate report in this regard. 

It is Our constant prayer and sincere hope that Almighty 
God may hasten the day when men and nations now at war 
will enjoy the blessings of a true and enduring peace a peace 
in which We confidently foresee embodied those fundamental 
Christian principles, whose application can assure the victory 
of love over hate, right over might, justice over egoism, and in 
which the search for eternal values will prevail over the quest 
for merely temporal goods. Meanwhile We find Ourselves, 

however, face to face with the appalling and heart'sickening 
consequences of modern warfare. In these tragic circumstances 
We are endeavoring, with all the forces at Our disposal, to 
bring material and spiritual comfort to countless thousands 
who are numbered amongst the innocent and helpless victims. 
We should like, on this occasion, to express to Your Excellency 
Our cordial appreciation of the magnificent assistance which 
the American people have given, and continue to offer, in this 
mission of mercy. They are, indeed, demonstrating once again 
a charitable understanding of the needs of their suffering fellow 
men and a noble desire to alleviate their misery. 

In reassuring you of Our ceaseless and untiring efforts in 
the cause of peace, We renew to Your Excellency the expression 
of Our heartfelt good wishes, with a fervent prayer for the per-' 
sonal welfare of Your Excellency and for the prosperity of the 
cherished people of the United States. 


From the Vatican, 
September 20th, 1941. 

America At War 


A year elapsed before the next exchange of messages. In the early 
months of this interval, American relations with Japan progressively 
became more tense, though negotiations for adjustment of the gravely 
deepening crisis in the Far East proceeded almost continuously. On 
December 7, 1941, by surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, war came to 
the United States in the Pacific. Within four days, by the declarations 
of war on the United States by Germany and Italy, the war at last 
girded the entire globe. 

The ultimate issue whether the philosophy of militarism and aggress 
sion or the philosophy of peaceful democracy would have the opportunity 
to be conferred by victory to mold the world's future now rested in the 
arbitrament of battle throughout all continents and on all seas. Almost 
no neutrals remained in the world, but only enemy or ally. The enemy 
states possessed the preponderance of ready force. The states allied in 
war immediately joined together in a Declaration by United Nations to 
cooperate in the prosecution of the conflict and not to make a separate 
armistice or peace with the enemies. 

The developments of the war during the spring and summer of 
1942 are still vivid in the memory of all. These were months of retreat, 
of organization of plans and forces, of costly decision as to what forces 
were "expendable". They were months when courage and faith in ulti' 
mate victory were tested by multiplied defeats and the tolls of military 

Yet, as the United States took up the gage of war, peace no less 
than victory was in the mind of President Roosevelt. "We shall win 
this war", he wrote, "and in victory we shall seek not vengeance but the 
establishment of an international order in which the Spirit of Christ 
shall rule the hearts of men and of nations" 

By September i, 1942 it appeared that the Italian Government 
would permit transit of the Presidents Personal Representative through 
the Kingdom of Italy. The President at once wrote to His Holiness 
(Message No. XIII) to initiate my third visit. This letter waspre* 

sented in audience on September 19. As proposed by the President, an 
explanation was at once made as to Americas views concerning the 
war, and beyond, along the following lines: 

The Japanese attack bad consolidated the American people into a 
single entity to win tbe war. America would choose its own time and 
place to bring its forces to bear. Meanwhile we believed Russia would 
not surrender even though pressed at this time to the limit of strength. 
The first principal adversary to be defeated would be Germany, and 
then in due course, and in America's own way, Japan. 

America's interest was in defense of an ideal of government and a 
way of life for itself and for mankind. It sought no political, financial or 
territorial aggrandisement. It was moving and would move in harmony 
with all those who would defend human rights and justice under the 
moral law. America had no hatred for the Italian people. Even yet it 
was not too late for Italy s people to find their eventual position de* 
terminedby their conducthenceforth. Nor did America hate the German 
people though our feeling was affected by apprehension that they upheld 
the aggressions of their leaders. 

The United States was determined to carry through until complete 
victory had been won. The American people were united in that deter* 
mination regardless of any normal differences of interest or belief among 
them. No indecisive or compromised victory would suffice; it would 
signify a partial victory for the Axis and could only lead to later re* 
sumption of conflict. After full victory, a just and lasting peace must be 
made. Until victory, no peace was possible. The war aims of the United 
States were peace aims aims known to His Holiness and to the world. 

These refections met with happy response from His Holiness. At 
my request, He later provided for the information of the President a 
copy of a personal memorandum in which He had set forth His views 
to me in regard to several of these vital matters. 

The memorandum envisaged an eventual peace worthy of mans 
personal dignity and of his high destiny, a peace which took into consid' 
eration the vital needs of all nations and which bore within itself the 
seeds of longevity. A first requisite was that the relations between gov / 


ernments and their people, and between all governments and peoples, 
must be based on the fulfillment of contracts, on the observance of justice 
and law tempered by Christian charity and brotherly love, and on rever* 
encefor the dignity of the human person and resvectfor religious con* 
victions. The worship of God must again exercise its due influence in 
individual and national life. The Pope again stated, as in earlier public 
utterances, that certain principles of right and justice have their founda* 
tion deep in the moral order of the universe, and that on such principles 
there can never he compromise. He was greatly heartened to know that the 
peace aims of the United States fully recognized these basic moral 
principles. These principles would unswervingly point the direction of 
His own path of duty. 

Occasion was taken, with the approval of the President and Secret 
tary Hull, to describe in general terms the significant efforts being made 
hy the Advisory Committee on Post'War Foreign Policy, which had 
been established early in the preceding February, and in the work of 
which I was participating. This Committee, under Secretary Hull's 
Chairmanship and with participation by members of the public and of 
the Congress and by officials, was intensively engaged in exploring 
post-war problems with a view to making recommendations to the Presi' 
dent. Itsfelds of work concerned transitional problems of relief, re* 
establishment of order, and reconstruction, as well as all the complex 
and far 'reaching aspects of post-war international security; long-range 
political, territorial, and economic problems; and international organizas 
tion. No conclusions had as yet been drawn and none would be until 
long and serious study had been given to the problems. 

While the Pope, in accord with the traditional policy of the Holy 
See to abstain from participating in controversial problems between 
states outside the spiritual sphere, commented upon this information only 
as to its bearing upon the establishment of just and enduring peace, He 
expressed gratification that the application of American peace aims had 
become so quickly the subject of responsible preparations. 

When I took leave His Holiness handed to me the letter addressed 
by Him to President Roosevelt under date of September 25 (Message 

No. XIV) manifesting confidence tbat a new spirit of collaboration 
among men and nations would unite men after the war, and conveying 
to the President, now as leader not of a neutral but of a belligerent 
state, His desire for continuance of parallel endeavors for the allevi* 
ation of suffering and for peace. M.C.T. 



Letter from President Roosevelt to His Holiness 

SEPTEMBER 3, 1942 

Your Holiness: 

I am very happy that Mr. Myron C. Taylor is going back to 
the Vatican to see You and that apparently the passage has 
been assured. 

He will tell You of all that has gone on in America since 
he last saw You,and he will tell You howimportant I believe it 
to be that we maintain close contacts and close understandings. 

I well know what great difficulties surround You and I 
know that You are praying for us in the United States just as 
You are praying for all humanity. 

I hope especially that Your health is good and that You 
will take care of Yourselffor we all need You in this critical 

With my warm regards, 

Faithfully Yours, 



Reply of His Holiness to President Roosevelt 

SEPTEMBER 25, 1942 

Your Excellency: 

Once again We have welcomed with especial satisfaction your 
Personal Representative, His Excellency Mr. Myron C. Jay 
lor, whose untiring and devoted efforts serve so effectively to 
foster the relations between Your Excellency and Us. 

We continue to strive, with every means at Our disposal, 
for the foundation of a world order that will have as its basis 
the fundamental principles of justice and charity, and it is Our 
confident prayer that in the postwar world men and nations 
may unite in a new spirit of understanding and collaboration. 
As Your Excellency has remarked, Our labors for the allevi' 
ation of suffering and for peace encounter obstacles and difE" 
culties, but We place Our trust in God and are confident that 
We shall enjoy the understanding collaboration of all good 

In renewing to Your Excellency the expression of Our 
good wishes, We assure you of Our fervent prayers for your 
personal welfare and for that of the people of the United States 
of America. 

PIUS PP. xn 

From the Vatican, 
September 25, 1942. 


The Turning Point 
of the War 


The three months that passed between the President's receipt of the 
reply dated September 2$, 1942, and his next message (No. XV) 
were, in many ways, the most crucial months of the war. In retrospect, 
the developments which occurred then marked, though tentatively and 
with reverses still to come, the decisive turn in the trend of world events. 
American armies with the cooperation of British forces landed in North 
Africa in a campaign attended by immediate successes toward freeing 
North Africa from Axis forces. A Soviet offensive in the area of 
Stalingrad and another in the Caucasus evidenced that reserve of power 
and determination which were capable at last of checking the forward 
thrust of Nazi forces on the Eastern Front. And in the Pacific, at the 
farthest point of Japanese advance, Japan's greatest naval effort to re* 
capture Guadalcanal failed. The ebb of the tide of aggressive expansion 
by the Axis bad set in. 

The message from President Roosevelt to His Holiness dated 
December 31, 1942 was written as this crucial moment in the war was 
reached. With a profound sense of the responsibility that his leadership 
conferred, the President wrote in deep feeling of the necessity to banish 
war as an instrument of national policy and to replace it by an intelli' 
gent system to achieve unbroken peace. 

Responding in the same spirit of complete dedication to duty in days 
of violent crisis, January 5, 1943 (Message No. XVI), His Holiness 
expressed His longing for the return of peace and His readiness to 
collaborate in fullest measure whenever well-founded hope would appear. 
Meanwhile He was seeking to relieve the suffering of prisoners of war, 
of the families of soldiers, and of the millions of men, women and chil' 
dren who were being subjected to privation, and to keep prayerful watch 
on the matters of peace. 

The efforts to provide relief to which the Pope referred encompassed, 
among many others, the establishment of arrangements for exchange of 
information concerning prisoners of war in Eastern Europe, which ens 
countered difficulties that largely remained unresolved, andforcommuni" 


Message from President Roosevelt to His Holiness 

DECEMBER 31, 1942 

Your Holiness: 

As the Christmas season once more sheds its beatific influence 
upon the world, I send my greetings and the expression of my 
earnest hope for the continued health and well-being of Your 
Holiness. In past years our voices have jointly and severally 
been raised in behalf of the maintenance of peace. Our appeals 
have unfortunately fallen upon deaf ears. 

We face the new year now upon us with the task to uphold 
by our deeds and to fulfill in our day the obligations civiliza- 
tion has laid upon us to crush those who refuse to honor the 
basic principles of Christian conduct. In this spirit we gird 
ourselves to the task, free from designs upon our neighbors and 
moved by ideals of humanity, charity and justice under moral 
law. This consecration knows no limits of effort or sacrifice by 
our people. Your recent letter brought to me by my Personal 
Representative has given me the greatest pleasure, as did also a 
memorandum by Your Holiness in response to his explana- 
tion of the position and objectives of this Government and 
people and of their accomplishments and preparations for de- 
fensive war. In modern times war is an especially ominous 
word. The present war has developed on a world-wide scale, 
spreading into the most remote places. Its very spread clearly 
shows that it must be banished as an instrument of national 
policy by every nation, that it must be replaced by an intelli- 
gent system evolved from the skill and courage of those who 
are entrusted with leadership to find other ways to adjust dis- 
putes and to achieve continual peace. 


It has given me the greatest satisfaction and I am greatly 
heartened again to receive from Your Holiness such positive 
assurances which will enable us to continue our efforts along 
parallel lines. May I take advantage of this opportunity to re^ 
iteratethehopethat Your Holiness may continue in good health 
and spirit and that these tragic times may soon come to an end. 



Keplv of His Holiness to President Roosevelt 

JANUARY 5, 1943 

Your Excellency: 

The greetings and good wishes which Your Excellency has so 
kindly extended to Us for the holy season of Christmas have 
been a source of particular pleasure to Us. 

Our heart, too, is saddened by the thought that once again 
the serene light that radiates from Bethlehem shines upon a 
world troubled and ensanguined by the war. 

We derive comfort, however, from the certainty that, in 
homage to the duty which Our universal paternity and the 
very feeling of humanity imposed upon Us, We have not 
spared Ourselves in Our efforts as Your Excellency has so 
courteously recalled in order, first of all, that the world might 
continue to enjoy the inestimable benefits of peace and, later, 
that the conflagration, once it had broken out, might not spread 
to other countries. 

And now, as the clash of arms sombrely resounds from 
hemisphere to hemisphere, it remains for Us onlyto hasten, with 
longing desire, the return of peace and, above all, to implore 
it of God through the persevering insistence of prayer, ready 
always to offer Our fullest collaboration when, through the 
overhanging clouds of sorrow and destruction, there may shine 
upon this warworn world even a faint ray of encouraging and 
well-founded hope. 

While maintaining this prayerful watch, which, though it 
adds to Our sorrows, does not diminish Our courage, We are 
not inactive. Your Excellency is aware of the fact particularly 
because you have given Us your support for which We shaU 


be ever grateful that it is Our undeviating program to do 
everything in Our power to alleviate the countless sufferings 
arising from this tragic conflict: sufferings of the prisoners and 
of the wounded, of families in fear and trembling over the fate 
of their loved ones, of entire peoples subjected to limitless pri' 
vations and hardships: sufferings of the aged, of women and 
children who at a moment's notice find themselves deprived of 
hone and possessions. 

For Our part, We shall continue to recall to men's minds, 
as We have done so many times, from this Rome, Holy City, 
center of the Catholic world and Our Episcopal See, those 
higher principles of justice and Christian morality without 
which there is no salvation, and to draw men's spirits anew 
towards those sentiments of charity and brotherhood without 
which there can be no peace. 

In the ceaseless furtherance of this, Our program, We feel 
certain that We may count upon the efficacious comprehen^ 
sion of the noble American people and upon the valid collab' 
oration of Your Excellency. 

It is in this spirit that, while extending Our fervent good 
wishes to Your Excellency, at the beginning of this New Year, 
We pray to God for the prosperity of Your Excellency and 
that of the great Nation over which you preside. 


The Invasion of Italy 


The jive messages contained in this group relate to the summer months 
of 1943* in the course of which the Allied offensive moved inexorably 
toward Italy and, f natty, into Italy. The plainly foreseeable invasion of 
Europe from the south foreshadowed new sufferings for Italian civilians 
and threat of destruction of treasured monuments of the history, religion 
and culture of the Western World. In deep anxiety the Pope appealed 
to the President on May 18, 1943 (Message No. XVII). In moving 
words reflecting the calls for protection and intercession being made to 
Him, and expressing His grief and apprehension over what might befall 
the innocent victims of the struggle and civilization's precious heritage 
when war would rage over a land filled with cultural and religious 
buildings and shrines, the Pope pleaded that these he spared. 

The President replied (Message No. XVIII) with sympathetic 
appreciation of the deep feeling of His Holiness. Nevertheless, cow 
petted as leader of a warring nation to prosecute the war with all force 
against any legitimate military objective, be could only promise that 
warfare would not be made against civilians or against non^military 
objectives. Allied aviators had been instructed to prevent bombs from 
falling on Vatican City. 

On July 10 the Allies began the invasion of Sicily. The President 
at once informed His Holiness (Message No. XIX) of the landing of 
American and British troops on Italian soil Though mindful of "the 
grim duties of war", he reaffirmed that religious institutions would be 
protected so far as this could be done, and promised that the neutral 
status of Papal domains would be respected. 

The first bombing of Rome occurred as the Pope composed His 
reply to this message, sent on July 19 (Message No. XX). He had 
seen its effects, among them that an ancient cultural and religious 
sanctuary bad been struck by a miscarrying bomb. Speaking from vision 
above the armed conflict of the nations, He again pressingly pleaded that 
Italy and especially Rome not be bombed. As a foundation of the peace 


to fa built later, He prayed that not alone human charity, hut Christian 
charity, would be shown in the war. 

During the next six weeks Mussolini met Hitler for the last time 
before his resignation, forced by the Grand Council on July 2$. Field 
Marshal Pietro Badoglio took the reins of government as Premier, and 
the Facist party was immediately dissolved. The Allied conquest of 
Sicily was completed on August 17. It was in the midst of these de* 
cisive developments only a few days before the invasion of Italy proper 
hy Allied forces anljust before German forces occupied Rome that 
His Holiness wrote again (Message No. XXI), making a last appeal 
that innocent civilians and religious institutions he protected from mili* 
tary actions. At the same time He indicated to the Presidenthow greatly 
His hopes to this end were sustained hy the intention expressed hy the 
President in his previous message to act in accord with this plea to the 
extent humanly possible. 

A turbulentperiod ofchangesfollowed Italy s surrender on Septem* 
her 8. Five weeks later that country joined in the war against Germany. 
The struggle against Nazi forces in Italy continued month after month 
in the campaigns at the foothold of the Allied troops not far from Rome 
in the region ofAnzio and in central Italy. Many emergency problems 
arose in the combat zones, and my mission gave such help as it could 
in meeting them. A number came from the difficulties of distinguishing 
true fact from false in confusing reports. Sometimes religious buildings 
were used by the enemy and so made military objectives. Our own forces 
on occasion requisitioned religious property during the battles. The risk 
was always present that, despite all cart, bombs would strike Vatican 
City, as happened three times, happily with but minor damage. Beyond 
these were problems of arrangements to assure civil order and to meet 
medical and other relief needs in Ijiome and elsewhere as German forces 
were drwen back. 

During the winter, Soviet forces continued to regain vast areas lost 
earlier. They entered the land of pre-war Poland at the turn of the year 
and broke into Rumania in the spring of 1944- In the Pacific, Japanese 
forces were attacked and overwhelmed in island after island, and by May 


American forces were at Biak Island, goo miles from fat Philippines. 

No less favorable advances were made in United Nations collabor* 
ation for peace, beginning with the Declaration of Moscow in October 
1943 in which the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and 
China pledged the continuance of their cooperation in the establishment 
of the peace. Various decisions were made as to the treatment to be ac* 
corded Germany and Japan immediately after their surrender. A United 
Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration was being estab' 
lished, and steps toward permanent international organizations were 
being taken infields such as food and agriculture, monetary stabilization, 
investment and development, and civil aviation. Moreover, the four 
major nations fighting the Axis were preparing to formulate at Duw 
barton Oaks their proposals for a general world organization to main* 
tain international peace and security. 

By summer 1944, the cause of the United Nations, both in the war 
and toward the use of victory for the highest constructive purposes, en* 
joyed a most hopeful prospect. 

Rome, fortunately not damaged extensively, was liberated on June 
4, i<)44, and the battles in Italy moved northward. Two days later Allied 
forces successfully landed in France and swept irresistibly onward to 
liberate Western Europe. "Yet the issue of the titanic struggle in all its 
theaters in Europe and in the Far East, certain though it appeared, res 
mained far from final decision, and excepting the cooperation among the 
major nations already pledged, the basic problems of future world peace 
remained to be solved by necessary agreements and action. M.C.T. 



Letter from His Holiness to President Roosevelt 

MAY 1 8, 1943 

Your Excellency, 

Almost four years have now passed since, in the name of the 
God the Father of all and with the utmost earnestness at Our 
command, We appealed (August 24, 1939) to the responsible 
leaders of peoples to hold back the threatening avalanche of in' 
ternational strife and to settle their differences in the calm, serene 
atmosphere of mutual understanding. "Nothing was to be lost 
by peace; everything might be lost by war/* And when the 
awful powers of destruction broke loose and swept over a large 
part of Europe, though Our Apostolic Office places Us above 
and beyond all participation in armed conflicts, We did not 
fail to do what We could to keep out of the war nations not yet 
involved and to mitigate as far as possible for millions of inno' 
cent men, women and children, defenceless against the circum^ 
stances in which they have to live, the sorrows and sufferings 
that would inevitably follow along the constantly widening 
swath of desolation and death cut by the machines of modern 

The succeeding years unfortunately have seen heartrending 
tragedies increase and multiply; yet We have not for that reason, 
as Our conscience bears witness, given over Our hopes and 
Our efforts in behalf of the afflicted members of the great human 
family everywhere. And as the Episcopal See of the Popes is 
Rome, from where through these long centuries they have ruled 
the flock entrusted to them by the divine Shepherd of souls, it 
is natural that amid all the vicissitudes of their complex and 
chequered history the faithful of Italy should feel themselves 


bound by more than ordinary ties to this Holy See, and have 
learned to look to it for protection and comfort especially in 
hours of crisis. 

In such an hour today their pleading voices reach Us 
carried on their steady confidence that they will not go un/ 
answered. Fathers and mothers, old and young every day are 
appealing for Our help; and We, whose paternal heart beats 
in unison with the sufferings and sorrows of all mankind, 
cannot but respond with the deepest feelings of Our soul to 
such insistent prayers, lest the poor and humble shall have 
placed their confidence in Us in vain. 

And so very sincerely and confidently We address Oiuy 
selves to Your Excellency, sure that no one will recognize more 
clearly than the Chief Executive of the great American nation 
the voice of humanity that speaks in these appeals to Us, and 
the affection of a father that inspires Our response. 

The assurance given to Us in 1941 by Your Excellency's 
esteemed Ambassador Mr. Myron Taylor and spontaneously 
repeated by him in 1942 that "America has no hatred of the 
Italian people" gives Us confidence that they will be treated 
with consideration and understanding; and if they have had to 
mourn the untimely death of dear ones, they will yet in their 
present circumstances be spared as far as possible further pain 
and devastation, and their many treasured shrines of Religion 
and Art, precious heritage not of one people but of all human 
and Christian civilization will be saved from irreparable ruin. 
This is a hope and prayer very dear to Our paternal heart, and 
We have thought that its realization could not be more effec^ 
tively ensured than by expressing it very simply to Your 

With heartfelt prayer We beg God's blessings on Your 
Excellency and the people of the United States. 

From the Vatican, PIUS PP. XII 

May 19, 1943- 



Reply of President Koosevelt to His Holiness 

JUNE 16, 1943 

Your Holiness: 

The communication of May 19, 1943 from Your Holiness 
setting forth in eloquent language the deep feelings of emotion 
with which Your Holiness views the devastating effects of war 
on Italy strikes a very responsive chord in my heart. No one 
appreciates more than I the ceaseless efforts of Your Holiness 
to prevent the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939 and subse' 
quently to limit its contagion. Your Holiness is familiar with 
the repeated efforts which were made in 1940 by this Govern' 
ment, and by many elements within the United States to deter 
the Chief of the Italian Government from plunging his country 
and countrymen into a ruinous war whose outcome, I reminded 
him even at that time, could only prove disastrous. 

The sympathetic response of Your Holiness to the many 
appeals of the Italian people on behalf of their country is under' 
stood and appreciated by me. May I say that Americans are 
among those who value most the religious shrines and the his' 
torical monuments of Italy. However, my countrymen are like' 
wise united in their determination to win the war which has 
been thrust upon them and for which the present government 
of Italy must share its full responsibility. My countrymen and 
I deplore the loss of life on both sides which must result and 
the destruction of property and resources. 

Attacks against Italy are limited, to the extent humanly 
possible, to military objectives. We have not and will not make 
warfare on civilians or against non'inilitary objectives. In the 
event it should be found militarily necessary for Allied planes 

to operate over Rome our aviators are thoroughly informed as 
to the location of the Vatican and have been specifically in^ 
structed to prevent bombs from falling within the Vatican 
City. This may be an opportune time to warn Your Holiness 
that I have no reason to feel assured that Axis planes would 
not make an opportunity to bomb Vatican City with the pur^ 
pose of charging Allied planes with the outrages they them-' 
selves had committed. 

My country has no choice but to prosecute the war with all 
force against the enemy until every resistance has been over' 
come. Your Holiness will understand, I am confident, that in 
this struggle for human liberty no exception can be made to 
the full prosecution of the war against any legitimate military 
enemy objective. Any other course would only delay the ful^ 
fillment of that desire in which Your Holiness and the govern^ 
ments and peoples of the United Nations and I believe the 
people of Italy likewise are joined the return of peace on 

Believe me, with the assurances of my highest regard, 

Yours very sincerely, 


Message from President Roosevelt to His Holiness 

[TELEGRAM] JULY 10, 1943 

His Holiness Pope Pius XII 

Vatican City 

Your Holiness: 

By the time this message reaches Your Holiness a landing force 
by American and British troops will have taken place on 
Italian soil. The soldiers of the United Nations have come to 
rid Italy of Fascism and of its unhappy symbols and to drive 
out the Nazi oppressors who are infesting her. 

There is no need for me to reaffirm that respect for religious 
beliefs and for the free exercise of religious worship is funda^ 
mental to our ideas. Churches and religious institutions will, 
to the extent that it is within our power, be spared the devastax 
tions of war during the struggle ahead. Throughout the period 
of operations the neutral status of the Vatican City as well as 
of the Papal domains throughout Italy will be respected. 

I look forward as does Your Holiness to that bright day 
when the Peace of God returns totheworld. Weare convinced 
that this will occur only when the forces of evil which now 
hold vast areas of Europe and Asia enslaved have been utterly 
destroyed. On that day we will joyfully turn our energies from 
the grim duties of war to the fruitful tasks of reconstruction. In 
common with all other nations and forces imbued with the 
spirit of good will toward men and with the help of Almighty 
God we will turn our hearts and our minds to the exacting 
task of building a just and enduring peace on earth. 



Reply of His Holiness to President Roosevelt 

JULY 19, 1943 

Your Excellency: 

Our Secretary of State acknowledged at once by telegram the 
receipt of Your Excellency's message of the tenth instant and 
he expressed Our grateful appreciation of the assurances given 
that "the neutral status of the Vatican City as well as of the 
Papal domains throughout Italy will be respected*' during the 
military operations ahead. 

The neutrality of the Holy See strikes its roots deep in the 
very nature of Our Apostolic Ministry, which places Us above 
any armed conflict between nations. Yet it is this same God' 
given mission to safeguard and defend the eternal, spiritual in' 
terests of all men redeemed by Christ that makes Us the more 
sensible of human pain and sorrow. The war continues to 
multiply these sufferings a hundred/fold for so many millions 
of peace-loving, innocent men and women that Our paternal 
heart can find no rest except in constant, increasing efforts to 
dry the tears of aging mothers, of widows and orphaned chil- 
dren, and to hold back by every means at Our disposal the 
mounting flood that threatens to bury completely beneath its 
raging waters once fair lands of Europe and Asia. 

Moved by this strong, insistent love for humankind We 
cannot but take this occasion of the message which Your Ex- 
cellency has kindly addressed to Us to repeat an appeal made 
by Us more than once in these past few years. It is a prayer that 
everywhere, as far as humanly possible, the civil populations 
be spared the horrors of war; that the homes of God's poor be 
not laid in ashes; that the little ones and youth, a nation's hope, 


be preserved from all harm how Our heart bleeds when We 
hear of helpless children made victims of cruel war ; that 
churches dedicated to the worship of God and monuments 
that enshrine the memory and masterpieces of human genius 
be protected from destruction. 

We repeat this appeal unwilling to yield to any thought of 
its hopelessness, although almost daily We must continue to 
deplore the evils against which We pray. And now even in 
Rome, parent of western civilization and for well nigh two 
thousand years centre of the Catholic world, to which millions, 
one may risk the assertion, hundreds of millions of men through' 
out the world have recently been turning their anxious gaze. 
We have had to witness the harrowing scene of death leaping 
from the skies and stalking pitilessly through unsuspecting 
homes striking down women and children; and in person We 
have visited and with sorrow contemplated the gaping ruins of 
that ancient and priceless Papal basilica of St. Lawrence, one 
of the most treasured and loved sanctuaries of Romans, espe^ 
cially close to the heart of all Supreme Pontiffs, and visited with 
devotion by pilgrims from all countries of the world. God 
knows how much We have suffered from the first days of the 
war for the lot of all those cities that have been exposed to aerial 
bombardments, especially for those that have been bombed not 
for a day, but for weeks and months without respite. But since 
divine Providence has placed Us head over the Catholic 
Church and Bishop of this city so rich in sacred shrines and 
hallowed, immortal memories, We feel it Our duty to voice a 
particular prayer and hope that all may recognize that a city, 
whose every district, in some districts every street has its irre^ 
placeable monuments of faith or art and Christian culture, 
cannot be attacked without inflicting an incomparable loss on 
the patrimony of Religion and Civilization. 

Meanwhile the war proceeds at a quickened pace; and as 
the peoples of the world are being told to prepare themselves 


for increasingly destructive battles that will drain the life-blood 
of mrny thousands of the armed forces and, to our grief be it 
said, of civilians, Our own soul makes ready for a more grievous 
ordeal of sorrow and anxiety. But it is with no diminished 
hope and confidence that in this very hour We call on God, 
Our sole stay and comfort, to hasten the dawn of that day 
when His peace will erect the glorious temple builded of living 
stones, the nations of the earth, wherein all members of the vast 
human family will find tranquillity, security in justice, and 
freedom and inspiration to worship their Creator and to love 
their fellow-men. It is the day, as Your Excellency says, longed 
for by all men of good will. But not all realize that that temple 
will stand and endure only if set on the foundation of Christian, 
more than mere human charity, not alloyed with vindictive 
passion or any elements of hate. Such charity the divine Re- 
deemer of mankind proclaimed as His commandment, illus- 
trated by His example and sealed with His blood. Through it 
men can once again be united as loved and loving children of 
their divine Father in heaven. We avail Ourselves of this oc- 
casion to renew Our good wishes, while we pray God to pro- 
tect Your Person and the people of the United States. 

From the Vatican, 
July 19, 1943. 


Letter from His Holiness to President Roosevelt 

AUGUST 30, 1943 

Your Excellency: 

Recent events have naturally focused the world's attention for 
the moment on Italy, and much has been said and written on 
what policy she would or should now follow for her own best 
interests. Too many, We fear, take for granted that she is en' 
tirely free to follow the policy of her choice; and We have 
wished to express to Your Excellency Our conviction that 
this is far from true. Of her desire for peace and to be done with 
the war, there can be no doubt; but in the presence of formid^ 
able forces opposing the actuation or even the official declara^ 
tion of that desire she finds herself shackled and quite without 
the necessary means of defending herself. 

If under such circumstances Italy is to be forced still to 
bear devastating blows against which she is practically de^ 
fenceless, We hope and pray that the military leaders will find 
it possible to spare innocent civil populations and in particular 
churches and religious institutions the ravages of war. Already, 
We must recount with deep sorrow and regret, these figure 
very prominently among the ruins of Italy's most populous 
and important cities. But the message of assurance addressed 
to Us by Your Excellency sustains Our hope, even in the face 
of bitter experience, that God's temples and the homes erected 
by Christian charity for the poor and sick and abandoned 
members of Christ's flock may survive the terrible onslaught. 
May God in His merciful pity and love hearken to the univer^ 
sal cry of His children and let them hear once more the voice of 
Christ say: Peace! 


We are happy of this occasion to renew the expression of 
Our sincere good wishes to Your Excellency. 


From the Vatican. 
August 30, 1943 


Toward "True and Enduring Peace" 


For nearly two years after September, 1942, a further visit to Rome 
bad been prevented by the opposition of Mussolini. When the Allied 
forces freed Rome, President Roosevelt desired me to renew discussions 
with the Pope at once. In answer to the Presidents telegram of inquiry 
and greeting, the Pope immediately extended His welcome (Messages 
Nos. XXII and XXIII). I was received June 21, 1944, in the fast of 
many audiences during a visit lasting until victory was won in Europe. 

Exchanges of views were desired on several major subjects, of which 
the necessity of continuing hostilities until Germany surrendered un* 
conditionally was the fast. The American view was explained as pre* 
eluding the negotiation of any armistice with Germany. Absolute defeat 
of German forces on German soil was vital not only for victory hut for 
a lasting change of heart on the part of the German people with regard 
to militarism and aggressive expansion. In contrast to Italy, in which a 
functioning government freely repudiating Fascism had existed at the 
time of surrender, no government would exist in Germany of a character 
warranting recognition by the United Nations for the purpose ofdis* 
cussing conditions of armistice. There would be no negotiation ofsw 
render terms. 

Any reports questioning whether the American people bad hen 
entertaining any other views on this matter lacked substance in fact. 
Any approaches on the part of the Nazi rulers of Germany toward 
seeking settlement of the war short of unconditional surrender would 
equally lack foundation in realistic facts and would have no bearing. 
Individuals guilty of war crimes would be held accountable. However, 
the objectives of the United States after victory envisaged progressive 
advancement of the German people to self-government and a peaceful 
and satisfying life. The nations which were to have the responsibilities 
conferred by the surrender were obligated to discharge them together. 

His Holiness, while maintaining the neutrality and impartiality 


constantly followed by the Holy See regarding civil antagonisms be* 
tween states, appreciated the consideration that had ken given to the 
long range aspects of these matters. He expressed great pleasure that no 
vindictive motives were present in the views of the United States. Al' 
though individual leaders were accountable to just punishment for 
wrongful actions, His paternal affection extended to all peoples, and the 
welfare of the German people must be protected and assured, as must 
also be the welfare of other peoples, in the interest of moral and peaceful 
relations permanently among men and peoples everywhere. He believed 
that the solution of all postwar problems must be considered parties 
larly in the light of the principle of the unity of mankind and of the 
family of peoples. Accordingly, apart from any controversial questions 
involved. He was pleased that the United States contemplated that 
Germany, as other enemy states, after demonstrating the intention to he 
peace-loving, might he associated with the community of nations in 
maintaining peace and security. 

Discussion of organized international cooperation to keep peace in 
the future was the second subject, and necessarily was in the broadest 
terms until the views of the major powers had been clarified in the 
Dumbarton Oaks Proposals. The President and Secretary Hull had 
already suggested, however, many essential features of a desirable inter* 
national organization to maintain peace and security and to promote the 
conditions of stability and of well-being necessary for peaceful and 
friendly relations. The President hoped that creation of such an inter- 
national organization during the war, by guaranteeing security in the 
future for all nations, would solve or help to solve many problems left 
by the war, and aid in hastening reconstruction. 

The Pope expressed His desire to encourage any project which gave 
firm promise of the furtherance of a just and enduring peace by being 
founded on international agreement andon the moral law. American views 
as so far developed concorded with His own in basic respects, including 
the necessity that peace be supported by armed power. He emphasized, 
as in His subsequent Christmas address, that peace required a return to 
belief in the solidarity of all peoples. It also required full recognition of 


the equal right of sovereignty among member states, mutual guarantees, 
and assurance of justice whenever sanction had to be employed. 

While these discussions were proceeding. His Holiness was making 
all possible effort to succor the refugees who had survived the period of 
Nazi control in Italy or who could be assisted in other lands. The 
President referred specially to this in his message of August 3, 1944 
(Message No.XXIV). The reply ofthePope (Message No. XXV) 
reflected the comfort He found in the Presidents realization of the dffi' 
culties and hardships which beset all peoples in or near the scenes of 
combat and of His resulting concerns and problems. 

These concerns and problems relatedj aside from those above, to re* 
ligious freedom, to stability and order after hostilities, and to relief. 

Delay in the coming of the time when full and unrestricted right to 
worship God as conscience dictated would be respected in all countries 
continued to urge His Holiness to explore every possibiUtity of cons 
structive steps to that end. He especially felt that, following the social 
and economic distress, the breakdown of human standards, and the dis* 
organization consequent from prolonged war, doctrines of communistic 
character might impede the respect for freedom of religion, a human right 
fundamental to a peaceful and enduring world order. When in due course 
the purposes embodied in the Charter of the United Nations included 
the promotion of respect for human rights and for fundamental frees 
domsfor all without distinction as to religion, progress toward this 
great goal was substantially advanced. 

Seeking to encourage the taking of measures of foresight toward 
assuring stability and order in the many countries confronting serious 
dislocation after their ordeal of war, He hoped that the United States 
would participate with other United Nations so long as necessary in 
assisting Italy and the other countries until stable governments express ' 
ing the will of the people could be constituted. In response, assurance 
was extended on the President's behalf that the United States intended 
to give appropriate assistance to that end. 

The relief needs of the millions of displaced peoples, prisoners of 
war, men and women engaged in forced labor away from their home 


lands, and civilian internees in all parts of Europe were matters of deep 
feeling to His Holiness , and of tireless activity. To these were added 
the great temporary needs of liberated peoples for medicines and foods and 
other essential supplies to maintain health. In Italy this problem had 
hen increasing steadily beyond the probable capabilities of UNR.RA, 
then still organizing and unable to help for many months. Almost all 
of the need had to be met otherwise. Consequently, American Relief 
for Italy was organized in April 1944, at the President's request, to 
send materials and supplies voluntarily given by the American people 
for distribution free to those in need. 

To distribute these supplies, the resources of the Italian Govern* 
ment, the Italian Red Cross and organized Labor, with the active co* 
operation of the Vatican at all times, were temporarily combined in a 
National Agency for the Distribution of Relief in Italy. This collabs 
oration proved so effective that it became the basis subsequently for per* 
manent welfare organization in Italy. President Roosevelt could an* 
nounce in this same autumn, when speaking of American relief assis* 
tance as an influential factor in enabling the Italian people to throw their 
full resources into the war against Germany and Japan, that the Italian 
people were already making significant contributions toward the defeat 
of the enemy and the attainment of the aims of the United Nations. 

During these autumn months of 1944, the advance of the United 
Nations on the long hard road to victory proceeded step by step. In 
August, Paris and Marseilles were freed and in September, Brussels 
and Luxembourg. At the same time Finland and Rumania accepted 
armistices, followed shortly by Bulgaria. On September 14, Allied 
forces crossed into German territory. In the Pacific the liberation of the 
Philippine Islands was begun. 

At home, in an electoral campaign marked by nonspartisanship 
concerning the crucial problems of America's world relations, Franklin 
D. Roosevelt was re-elected for a fourth term. A message of best 
wishes and prayer for Divine help to him was at once sent by His 
Holiness (Message No. XXVI). The response of the President 
(Message No. XXVII) expressed Us dedication to the responsibility 


which the American people had continued to entrust to him toward 
Winging about a better world. 

These were the last messages exchanged between His Holiness and 
President Roosevelt. M.C.T. 



Message from the President to His Holiness 

[TELEGRAM] JUNE 14, 1944 

His Holiness Pope Pius XII 
Vatican City 

As the onmarch of freedom flung open the gates of Rome, one 
of my first thoughts was to send back to Your Holiness my 
trusted representative, Mr. Myron Taylor. I am sure that Your 
Holiness will welcome him as in the past, knowing that he 
brings with him not only my personal greetings but also the 
prayers of the people of the United States for a swift end to this 
tragic conflict and their resolve to help build a friendly world 
in which men may live in peace and righteousness. 




Message from His Holiness to President Roosevelt 

[TELEGRAM] JUNE 19, 1944 

Your Excellency: 

We shall very happily welcome once again your esteemed rep' 
resentative, His Excellency Mr. Myron Taylor, and from this 
moment We thank Your Excellency for your kind greetings 
which We are glad to reciprocate. With Our heart profoundly 
distressed by this appalling tragedy which covers the world 
with blood and ruin We raise Our fervent prayers to Almighty 
God beseeching him to hasten the hour of true and durable 
peace, which will unite all men as brothers in justice and 




Message for His Holiness Conveyed In Instruction 
from President Roosevelt to Mr. Taylor 

AUGUST 3, 1944 

Dear Myron: 

Please be good enough to convey to His Holiness my warm 
personal regards and the assurance of my desire to cooperate 
with Him as fully as possible in all matters of mutual concern 
and interest. I should like you to take the occasion to express to 
His Holiness my deeplyfelt appreciation of the frequent action 
which the Holy See has taken on its own initiative in its gen' 
erous and merciful efforts to render assistance to the victims of 
racial and religious persecutions. 




Reply of His Holiness to President Roosevelt 
through Mr. Taylor 

AUGUST 7, 1944 

Your Excellency: 

We are deeply appreciative of your cordial comforting message. 
We pray that soon in God's providence peace with justice will 
come to our heart-broken world, that Christian civilization 
will be preserved as the basis and incentive of worlds-order, and 
that love of God and neighbor will be thegoverningprinciples 
both of nations and of men. We are asking Mr. Taylor who is 
always most considerate to tell you of some of Our concerns 
and problems. With heartfelt prayer We beg God's blessings 
on Your Excellency and the people of the United States. 



Message from His Holiness to President Roosevelt 


His Excellency Franklin D. Roosevelt 
President of the United States of America 
Washington, D. C. 

We extend to Your Excellency Our heartfelt congratulations 
on your re/election as President of the United States, assuring 
you of Our best wishes for your well-being and success and of 
Our earnest prayer that Almighty God may aid you in the 
discharge of your high responsibilities. 




Message from President Koosevelt to His Holiness 


His Holiness Pope Pius XII 
Vatican City 

I deeply appreciate the good wishes of Your Holiness for the 
successful prosecution of the grave tasks entrusted to me by the 
American people who are resolved with God's help to do all 
they can to bring about a better world for all. 


The Death of tie President 


As the tremendous decisions required in concluding the war and in deter* 
mining the lasic lines of action as to postwar transition and the inter* 
national organization to maintain peace and security pressed upon the 
Presidents attention, bis health progressively weakened. While the 
victory for which he had striven so mightily approached nearer week by 
week, it was painfully apparent that the awful strain was exacting an 
intolerable personal toll from him. Yet, not sparing himself, despite 
medical warning, he carried through the extraordinary burdens of the 
conference in the Crimea during February, 194$, with Prime Minister 
Winston Churchill and Premier Josef Stalin, and met the increasing 
demands upon his strength in the weeks at home afterward. 

The President had all but finished the "grim duties of war" by the 
beginning of April German forces would surrender unconditionally 
in Europe within a month. Complete victory would be won in the 
Pacific within four months. The duties of war settlement and fecon* 
struction by specific understandings and agreed cooperative action among 
the victor powers, and of the founding of the world's peace by the United 
Nations that had fought for the common victory, were the unfinished 
tasks. The first conference of all the United Nations, large and small, 
to prepare the Charter of the new international organization to main* 
tain their, and the world's, peace and security was about to convene in 
San Francisco. 

The decisive years of the war were ending; those of the peace were 
beginning. Here death came, on the afternoon of April 12, 194$. 

The innumerable millions of men and women in Us own and in 
other lands, who had responded to his magnificent leadership in the de* 
fense of the values and ideals of democracy and the way of peaceful life, 
felt in a personal sense the loss of a friend. It was with the deepest sor* 
row that His Holiness received the news. The following day, voicing 
His poignant grief over the passing of a Moved friend, He sent to Presi' 
dent Harry S. Truman and to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt the messages 
which conclude this correspondence. M.C.T. 


Message from His Holiness to President Harry S.Truman 

[TELEGRAM] APRIL 13, 1945 

His Excellency Harry S. Truman 
President of the United States of America 
Washington, D. C. 

The unexpected and sorrowful word of the passing of the 
President brings to Our heart a profound sense of grief born of 
the high esteem in which We held this renowned Statesman 
and of the friendly relations which he fostered and maintained 
with Us and with the Holy See. 

To the expression of Our condolences We join the assur-* 
ance of Our prayers for the entire American people and for 
their new President to whom We extend Our fervent good 
wishes that his labors may be efficacious in leading the Nations 
at war to an early peace that will be just and Christian. 



Message from His Holiness to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt 

[TELEGRAM] APRIL 13, 1945 

Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt 
The White House, 
Washington, D. C. 

In this your hour of greatest sorrow We hasten to convey to 
you the expression of Our profound sympathy and condolence 
and invoke for you and the members of your bereaved family 
the consolation of abounding heavenly comfort.